Border League round-up: Melrose head coach Iain Chisholm praises his 'mature' side for seeing off Kelso 34-12

After watching his side impressively dispose of Kelso 34-12 at The Greenyards on Friday night to make it three wins and a draw from their opening four games in this season’s Border League, ​Melrose head coach Iain Chisholm declared himself “very pleased” with his side’s form in the tournament.
Craig Fairbairn scores the opening try for Melrose against Kelso (Pics by Brian Sutherland)Craig Fairbairn scores the opening try for Melrose against Kelso (Pics by Brian Sutherland)
Craig Fairbairn scores the opening try for Melrose against Kelso (Pics by Brian Sutherland)

With 14 points overall, second-placed Melrose trail Border League leaders Hawick by two points ahead of the sides’ meeting at Mansfield Park this Friday, kick-off 7.30pm.

The victory over Kelso saw Melrose race into a 26-0 first half lead thanks to tries by Craig Fairbairn, Paddy Anderson and Will Ferrie (2), plus three Roly Brett conversions.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Although an Archie Barber try pulled it back to 26-5 at half-time before the visitors landed a penalty try early in the second half, Chisholm’s team then added further points via a Connor Spence try and a Brett penalty.

Murray McGregor on the move for Kelso at MelroseMurray McGregor on the move for Kelso at Melrose
Murray McGregor on the move for Kelso at Melrose

Head coach Chisholm told the Southern Reporter: "Friday night looked like us and it was a pretty mature performance by the team for a change.

"I would say Bruce Colvine was probably the catalyst for our success. His kicking game was outstanding from scrum half.

"Rather than just kicking ball away he really put Kelso under pressure with both his short and long kicking game and put us in really good positions to get the ball back.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"In the first half we were managing our half really well. We were kicking to get the ball back, we were forcing a lot of errors from Kelso and then when we got between the tens we were pretty effective in building pressure through possession.

Will Ferrie landed two Melrose tries in Border League encounterWill Ferrie landed two Melrose tries in Border League encounter
Will Ferrie landed two Melrose tries in Border League encounter

"One of the real USPs of us is we can play really quick. Sometimes that gets a bit scrappy but we did that on Friday night and I think Kelso struggled to recover once we’d got to our breaking point.

"By all accounts, still the achilles heal for us was haemorrhaging penalties but that’s been the case all season.

"It was a really good, mature performance from us and it’s going in the right direction.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It never really felt like Kelso were in it. It kind of feels like we’re clicking at the wrong time of year if you know what I mean, system wise.”

Melrose try to stop Kelso attackMelrose try to stop Kelso attack
Melrose try to stop Kelso attack

In his first season in the head coach role, Chisholm said he was happy with how he’d imprinted his own identity on the team.

He added: “We’ve used 56 players this season which, if you compare that to the likes of Hawick or Kelso – they’ve probably not used over 30.

"So game consistency in our squad has been a big issue for us. Front row wise we’ve really struggled, we’ve struggled at setpieces.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We’re not worried when the ball’s on the park, it’s when the ball gets kicked off the park or when the ball goes dead and we’re looking at a scrummage that we’ve really struggled.

Archie Barbour scoring Kelso try at MelroseArchie Barbour scoring Kelso try at Melrose
Archie Barbour scoring Kelso try at Melrose

"But we've got five props who are all 18 or 19 years old which is great for the future and these guys have really lerned a lot this season.

"Going into next season when we go into the Premiership, these guys will have had a really good season playing against some big guys so it will bode really well for them.

"We’re expecting to get players back from the Southern Knights, especially props, so we know we’ll be strengthened in that area.”

Related topics: