Seven-up Melrose and hat-trick man McCann
Boroughmuir 12, Melrose 45
Melrose took maximum points to stay top of the table against a Boroughmuir team who were only one point adrift at half-time but just couldn’t live with the Borderers for the full 80 minutes.
Going into the second half of the season, Melrose had racked up seven wins and two defeats, while Boroughmuir had recorded the exact opposite: seven losses and two wins. The game went with the form book, seven tries to two, including a hat-trick for winger Ross McCann.
Melrose opened the scoring after 10 minutes with a straightforward penalty in front of the posts by stand-off Jason Baggott.
The visitors turned the screw with a lineout inside the home 22 that became a rolling maul which was stopped on the line, but nobody could stop centre George Taylor as he crashed over with second-phase ball for an unconverted try.
A 40-metre penalty attempt by Muir stand-off Chris Laidlaw was hooked wide as the game went into its second quarter and a subsequent series of charges at the line was repelled until openside flanker Matt Walker got the few extra vital inches to claim the try. Laidlaw banged over the conversion from the touchline.
Melrose got their second try from a lineout, maul and quick pass to McCann, who dived in at the corner for his first of the afternoon. The conversion was wide.
Boroughmuir were straight back in Melrose faces and a string of passes carried them up the pitch and allowed Jordan Edmunds to score in the opposite corner.
Laidlaw couldn’t convert from the touchline on this occasion and it was a one-point game at half-time.
After the break, there was no let up in the attritional war between the packs.
Baggott landed his second penalty and Muir soaked up a lot of pressure but had no answer as the ball was shifted rapidly to McCann on the left and he ran in with an overlap to spare. Baggott’s conversion was good.
Melrose were threatening to cut loose and ‘Muir were struggling to contain them as the number of tackles having to be made rapidly sapped their energy.
Another lineout and a driving maul produced the bonus point try by Richard Taylor at the bottom of a pile of bodies. Baggott converted.
A fifth try was created by full-back Fraser Thomson, back in the starting line-up after injury, who wrong-footed the defence and put replacement Nyle Godsmark in on the left.
A sixth was scored by McCann after he sliced through weary tackles to complete a notable hat-trick, with Austin Lockington adding a seventh.