David Colvine being tackled during Hawick's 20-7 Border League win at home to Melrose on Friday (Photo: Alwyn Johnston)David Colvine being tackled during Hawick's 20-7 Border League win at home to Melrose on Friday (Photo: Alwyn Johnston)
David Colvine being tackled during Hawick's 20-7 Border League win at home to Melrose on Friday (Photo: Alwyn Johnston)

Home win against Melrose takes Hawick to within one point of rugby’s Border League title

​Hawick are now only one point off securing rugby’s Border League title for the 51st time but they’ve got a waiting game ahead of them as a date has yet to be confirmed for their final fixture of the competition.

​A 20-7 home win against hitherto-unbeaten Melrose on Friday leaves the Scottish Premiership table-toppers in pole position in the regional league too, with a 100% haul of 20 points from five matches.

Their outstanding match is away to the only side left capable of catching up with them, Scottish National League Division 1 outfit Gala.

Melrose’s loss at Mansfield Park takes them out of contention for a 21st title but 12-time winners Gala, on a dozen points from four games after edging out Jed-Forest 24-21 on Friday, could still catch up with the Greens to take the title race to a play-off.

Melrose are currently second in the table, on 14 points from five games, and Gala third.

The next day’s national inter-district championship match at Kelso for South of Scotland versus Glasgow and the West left Hawick without nine first-choice players and their visitors two short, forcing both sides to look to their reserves, but head coach Matty Douglas’s Greens proved to have sufficient strength in depth to get the better of their forthcoming Scottish Premiership rivals.

Hawick’s tries were scored by hooker Russell Anderson, full-back Ryan Purves, right-winger Morgan Tait and tighthead prop Ruaridh Macleod, with fly-half Bailey Donaldson missing all four conversion attempts.

Left-winger Matty Bertram scored the only try of the evening for head coach Iain Chisholm’s visitors, with fly-half Roly Brett converting.

Robbie Shirra-Gibb, Finlay Scott and Ben Fotheringham scored tries for Jed at their Riverside Park home ground, with Scott adding three conversions.

Touching down for their visitors from Galashiels were Dan Nicholson, Gregor Collins and Murray Wilson, with Craig Dods converting all three and kicking a penalty to win the game for them at the death.

Jed – second from bottom of the table, on four points from five fixtures – have got one game to go and that’s at home to Melrose this Thursday, with kick-off at 7.30pm.

Gala host fifth-placed Kelso, on eight points from five matches, this Saturday, with kick-off at 3pm.

No 8 Sam Frizzel was relieved to see the Greens’ second string come up trumps to keep their title challenge going, telling Borders Rugby TV: “It was a good win.

“We had a weakened squad with a lot of boys away with the South.

“They didn’t make it easy for us – they’re a tough, physical side – but we weathered it and stuck to our game-plan of getting front-foot ball then playing out wide and we scored some good tries.

“We’re getting to the business end of the season and we’ve got big games over the next month or two so boys are getting a chance to earn a jersey for one of those. That’s the main thing – to put yourself forward in the best position to get picked for the big games coming up.

“Last season, the Border League was the bit we missed out on. We got the Scottish cup and the premiership but we didn’t win the Border League so we’ve put a big focus this season on going one better and getting that as well.

“We just need to focus on that and get that point next week and finish the season strongly after that.”

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