Melrose captain Richard Ferguson goes out on high with derby victory against Kelso in rugby's Tennent's National League Division 1

Melrose first XV captain Richard Ferguson bowed out on a high in his last home game for the club by leading them to a 29-25 derby victory against Kelso on Saturday.

By Darin Hutson
Monday, 4th April 2022, 11:55 am
Updated Monday, 4th April 2022, 11:55 am
Outgoing Melrose captain Richard Ferguson, front centre, with members of Saturday's team (Photo: Douglas Hardie)
Outgoing Melrose captain Richard Ferguson, front centre, with members of Saturday's team (Photo: Douglas Hardie)

That result didn’t make much difference to the Tennent’s National League Division 1 table as it leaves Melrose static in fourth place – on 71 points from 21 games, with one to go, away to Dundee on Saturday, April 30 – and sees Kelso slipping a place to sixth, having been overtaken by Ayr.

Kelso, on 59 points from 21 games, have one match left to play too, and that’s away to Stirling Wolves on Saturday, April 16.

It was a big day for skipper Ferguson, however, as he leaves the Greenyards after 13 years and only four games short of 250 first-team appearances.

Kenneth Gibson on the ball for Kelso against Melrose (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

“It’s all quite hard to take in at the moment, to be honest,” he told Borders Rugby TV afterwards.

“I’m only finishing because I stay up in Glasgow – I have done for eight years – so the travelling’s getting too much for my work.

“I would love to keep playing. I’m only 30 so I think I’ve probably got another couple of years, so we’ll see.

“We’ll maybe move down here at some point in the future, and whether that’s to play for Melrose Storm or the first team, we’ll see.

Kelso's Robbie Tweedie on the attack against Melrose (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

“I’m really glad we won today and I finished on a high.

“I’ve played here since 2009 and I wouldn’t play for another team – that’s probably the best way I can describe it. It feels like home.

“I’ve played here with some of my best mates since high school, straight out of the Wasps, and we’ve had some amazing times – four premiership titles, we’ve played at Murrayfield a few times – but these last couple of years have been quality as well, with the Southern Knights moving on and me and a couple of others choosing to stay with the club team, and I’ve really enjoyed that and maybe had a wee bit more impact on games as well.”

Looking back over his final game at the Greenyards, Ferguson said: “Kelso obviously were missing a few boys, so we were just really careful not to take them lightly.

Melrose's Calum Crookshanks, supported by Richard Ferguson, being tackled by Kelso (Photo: Douglas Hardie)

“Whenever you’ve got Bruce McNeil on the pitch and Arran Jackson at the back and some of the other players, they’re always going to give you a game.

“This year I think we’ve had an OK season. We’ve been quite up and down.

“One thing we have done, when it’s come to Border derbies or big games against the likes of Biggar and Highland, we’ve probably gone into our shells and played off nine and been a bit too direct, which doesn’t really suit our team, so I’m really pleased at the way, despite it being a derby and all the blood and fury that comes with that, we did play the ball away and that, I think, is a nice way to end the season for the boys that are going on to the next team.”

Melrose’s tries were scored by Lewis Mallin, Gary McWilliam, Donald Crawford and Ross McConnell, with David Colvine converting three and also scoring a penalty.

Replying for their visitors were Frankie Robson, Arran Jackson, Angus Roberts and Murray Hastie, with Dwain Patterson adding a penalty and conversion.

Wishing Ferguson all the best for the future, past club president Douglas Hardie added: “Fergie has been a fantastic servant to the club, with 246 games under his belt. All should be extremely grateful for his service at the Greenyards.”