Derby next up for Melrose and Gala in rugby’s Scottish National League Division 1
That’s possibly the only positive to be taken from the 69-34 hiding they were given at Ayr’s Millbrae Stadium, however, as their hosts moved another step closer to promotion to the Scottish Premiership, almost certainly at Jed-Forest’s expense, by going 21 points clear at the top of the table after extending their winning start to the season to a dozen games.
Head coach Iain Chisholm’s Melrose side remain fourth, now on 34 points from 12 fixtures, with Gala sixth, on 33 from 12, after their scheduled trip to Biggar on Saturday was postponed due to their prospective hosts’ Hartree Mill pitch being frozen.
Saturday’s derby in Galashiels kicks off at 3pm and Melrose go into it looking to do the double, having beaten the Maroons 53-31 in the reverse fixture at the Greenyards at the end of September.
Their tries in South Ayrshire were scored by Craig Fairbairn, Matty Bertram, Keiran Clark, Will Ferrie and Lachlan Gaddie, with Struan Hutchison converting three and also kicking a penalty.
Tom Lanni, Joe Stafford and Rohan Pottie all touched down twice for the table-toppers, with Peter McCallum, Angus North, Stuart Collier and Scott Watson also scoring tries and Scotty Watson adding eight conversions and a penalty.
Melrose captain Angus Runciman, though disappointed to see his team throw away a lead for the second week on the trot following a 45-29 defeat at home to Biggar seven days previously, believes better days will lie ahead once their younger players have got more experience under their belts.
“It’s maybe been our downfall this week and last week taking an early lead and then getting ahead of ourselves a wee bit,” he told Borders Rugby TV afterwards.
“The boys played really for the first ten to 15 minutes but we needed to build upon that for the rest of the game as well.
“We’ve never had an easy game over here and I don’t think there ever will be.
“We maybe got ahead of ourselves just a wee bit, but more maturity throughout the team would maybe help that.
“I think the club are in a great position, to be perfectly honest. We’ve got a massive amount of home-grown players.
“A slight disadvantage or maybe an advantage is the fact that we’ve got a really young team as well. We do miss a wee bit of experience, granted, but, moving forward, the club are in a good position and I’d like to think that years from now we can go from strength to strength if we can just keep hold of those guys.
“We’ve got some really good, talented young players.”