Melrose 17 Ayr 27
ON A dismal day at the Greenyards, with persistent rain not helping the cause, neither of these sides produced the quality that their lofty league positions suggest they are capable of.
Melrose led 14-5 at the break but an error strewn first half from both sides left the match there for the taking in the second by the team who tidied up their act the most.
That team was Ayr, coming out to score 22 points and secure the bonus point into the bargain.
It wasn’t the most encouraging of starts for the hosts. The opening try coming on six minutes when a move involving most of the Ayr back line resulted in scrum-half Murray McConnell crossing in the corner.
But Melrose regrouped and, with their forwards coming more into play, managed to take possession back up to the Ayr 22. A penalty kick to the corner was taken securely before the ball was returned to hooker Todd Pearce who was driven over for the try. Joe Helps converted for Melrose to move into the lead.
Helps proceeded to miss a penalty and then have one bounce back off the post before referee Rob Dickson lost patience with the repeated Ayr infringements and sent replacement lock Scott Sutherland to the sin bin. Melrose capitalised with a push over try, Andrew Nagle coming up with the ball, and Helps converting.
Ayr spent the remainder of the half pushing towards the Melrose line but to no avail and the half finished Melrose 14 Ayr 5.
Ayr continued their assault after the restart with a number of handling errors from the hosts helping the cause. A try from Robbie Fergusson was quickly followed by a superb solo effort from James Eddie, with Ross Curle converting both, and all of a sudden the game was turned on it’s head.
Helps kicked a penalty to close the gap to two points and Melrose defended their own 22 well for the next 10 minutes as a more positive looking Ayr side pressed to stretch their advantage once more. Inevitably they did so, Curle kicking a penalty
Melrose: F. Thomson; D. Hoyland, A. Skeen, J. Helps, A. Lockington; R. Mill, B. Colvine; N. Little, T. Pearce, G. Holborn, G. Dodds, R. Ovens, P. Eccles, G. Runciman, A. Nagle. R. Ferguson, C. Keen, R. Miller, A. Dodds, C. Anderson.