Where have all the supporters gone?

Heriot’s 23

Melrose 46

PREMIER DIVISION ONE

ATHOLL INNES reports from Goldenacre

HERIOT’S are looking for the missing people.

For club rugby is on the rise, as shown by both teams on Saturday at Goldenacre, but where have all the supporters gone?

Melrose produced a star-studded performance with six tries to avenge last season’s defeat on the same ground.

But the programme author wrote: “The biggest disappointment is that fewer and fewer supporters come to watch the games. The product being served up in Premier One matches is fast, skilful and hard-fought, a pleasure to watch.

“Our teams play to be the starting point for those with designs on places in the performance game (pro sides).”

The writer is correct. One needs only to look at the poor crowds at Edinburgh club matches to validate his argument.

He, or perhaps she, was also right when speaking of fast and skilful.

Melrose were all that in abundance and handed out a warning to others with aspirations to take the championship to a new ground.

They outplayed Heriot’s, ran the opposition into the ground, especially in the final stages – despite the home coach, Graham Marshall, saying that it was the best his side had played all season.

Melrose were virtually unstoppable once they clicked into gear.

New captain Graeme Dodds said: “We knew that it would be hard up here, and it was. But we are pleased with the win to stay at the top of the league.”

Rugby director Mike Dalgetty, who watched anxiously from the sidelines, added: “We have to be happy with that.”

Dodds led by example with a try to add to scores from brother Allen, a double by Fraser Thomson, Bruce Colvine and Peter Eccles, while Andrew Skeen slotted five conversions and two penalties. For Heriot’s, Graham Wilson converted his own try and one by Max Learmonth and added three penalties.

Melrose: F. Thomson; A. Dodds, J. Murray, C. Murray, J. Helps; A. Skeen, B. Colvine; C. Keen, R. Ferguson, G. Holborn, G. Elder, R. Miller, J. Dalziel, G. Dodds, G. Runciman. Subs: W. Mitchell, K. Cooney, P. Eccles, S. McCormick, B. Dick.