It feels good to be the best club side in Scotland ... bar none

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Melrose were crowned club champions of Scotland last Saturday after gaining revenge for the previous weekend’s loss in the cup final against Ayr at Murrayfield.

In their final Premier Group A game of the season, Scott Wight and his team came from behind against the men from Millbrae on their home patch to win 29-20 and lift the trophy for the first time since 1997.

The game itself did club rugby proud – a tough, physical, clean, hard-fought match between two of the best teams in the country.

It was a great crowd – 1,850 – and every one of them full of passion. The perfect day, really.

There were scenes of jubilation at the final whistle as players and supporters celebrated this long-awaited coup on the Scottish club circuit.

And even president Mike Dalgetty had a tear in his eye as he celebrated victory with his team.

Melrose v Ayr. League decider.

Melrose v Ayr. League decider.

He told TheSouthern: “In the last few weeks we have been on a high from the sevens and then a low from the cup, but today is just incredible.

“We know it was our own blame last week and not because they were the better side, they are a very good side, but we didn’t perform to our normal level last week and credit to Ayr for what they did.

“I think the two games, both last week and this week, show well and truly that the club game is back. We had a huge crowd today, a fantastic atmosphere and a hell of a game.”

For captain Wight the recent success of the club has brought attention from outwith the Borders that many within the region feel is long overdue.

Melrose v Ayr. League decider.

Melrose v Ayr. League decider.

The 25-year-old has been invited to train with Glasgow next week as coach Sean Lineen considers adding him to his squad next season.

Wight told us: “What a difference winning makes. I just feel great delight for the boys who have put a huge effort in this week. I thought our performance was outstanding.

“I have said many times I’d love a chance at pro level, but if it doesn’t happen I would love to help take this side as league champions into next season with everyone wanting to knock us off the top.”

For player/coach John Dalziel too, victory was sweet.

He added: “Last week we were just a bit complacent, but the guys really turned up today. Ayr knew how to stop us playing so we had to be far more physical at the breakdown and get the speed of the game up, which we did.

“The boys have been focused towards this all year and I never doubted that they could turn it around today. I’m so pleased for everybody that we have finished off our season in this way.

“Personally, I have been playing senior rugby for 16 years and have picked up a couple of cups along the way, but I wanted this desperately, as did a lot of the guys playing today, and I’m just going to savour the moment.”

As well as being a great day for the Scottish club game, Saturday was also a glorious advert for Borders clubs.

Players from Jed-Forest, Gala, Hawick and Peebles were part of the Melrose team who have fought their way to the top of the crop.

Former Hawick and Bath scrum half Rob Chrystie was one of several local incomers to don the yellow and black jersey this season.

He told us: “It’s hard to sum up, to be honest. It’s been a lot of hard work this year, the boys have blended together as a team, but it’s been worth it. Playing in the British and Irish cup has helped and everyone was hurting from last week, which was a massive incentive as well.

“The whole thing has been great for Borders rugby. There are some great players here and there always will be, and the sooner the pro-teams start tapping into that the better, I think.

“As far as today is concerned, though, it’s been brilliant, just brilliant.”

z Read the full report of the momentous match on page 23.