Dalziel makes case for the defence after ‘Rose victory

Melrose vs Selkirk. Lee Kibble.
Melrose vs Selkirk. Lee Kibble.
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Rugby-starved supporters enjoyed a good physical contest between two sides eager to start their season on a high note.

In the end it was hosts Melrose who ran out winners in this Border League match-up, but National outfit Selkirk showed they were more than able to hold their own at a higher level.

Melrose coach John Dalziel admitted that some fine tuning was still needed within his squad, but that overall he was happy with their performance, especially up front.

“I was pleased with the attitude and many parts of our performance against Selkirk,” he told The Southern.

“I thought we brought a lot of physicality in our defence and at the contact area which are two main areas we are really focusing on. Our defence was very effective against a strong Selkirk side .

“Some of our attacking play looked very dangerous at times, also. Due to this being our first full game together this was very much a starting point with many areas still to work on and progress as we prepare for Heriot’s this weekend.”

The match exploded into life with Selkirk making an early charge for the line and Michael McVie put the Souters ahead from a penalty. Joe Helps replied in kind to level the scores and banged over a further three to put Melrose 12-3 in front with just over half-an-hour gone.

That lead was further increased following a typical Andrew Skeen break with Allan Dodds touching down in the corner.

Selkirk refused to give up and were rewarded when a quickly-taken tap penalty allowed wing Scott Hendrie to plunge over the line and register the visitors’ first try, to make the score 17-8 at half-time. McVie’s second successful penalty closed the gap to 17-11 after the break, but Helps restored Melrose’s nine-point advantage with his fifth.

The same player struck a decisive blow in the 57th minute by crossing for a try to cap a spell of intense pressure by the home forwards, well marshalled by skipper Graeme Dodds.

Cata Graur crashed over for a second try for Selkirk, but despite some intense pressure in the closing stages, there was no further scoring.