Melrose gave a powerful opening-day display at home to Watsonians, winning 54-22 (picture by Douglas Hardie).
Melrose gave a powerful opening-day display at home to Watsonians, winning 54-22 (picture by Douglas Hardie).

With nearly all the Borders squads in the upper reaches of the BT National League enjoying opening-day wins last week, there’s an understandable air of hope about keeping the momentum going.

Without getting over-zealous after just one game of the new campaign, the local squads are already deep into their game plans for this weekend and assessing areas where they need to make improvements.

In the Premiership, Hawick lost out to Currie Chieftains but Melrose gave a powerful display against Watsonians, winning 54-22.

The Greenyards men are staying home for this Saturday’s visit by Boroughmuir but head coach Rob Chrystie knows last week’s result was a starting point.

“We just need to keep getting better,” he said. “The boys played very well and built the game well in relation to what we asked them from the start, then it kind of unfolded in relation to attack – it was pretty much spot on in attack.

“But, defensively, we leaked a few points and the penalty count against us was quite high, so there is loads to improve on.”

Chrystie said although the score reflected poorly on Watsonians, they did have two players in the sin bin at the same time, during which Melrose scored two tries.

“That does make a difference, especially when you’re away from home.”

Chrystie hoped the side would be in even better form for the visit of Boroughmuir, who lost to Ayr on Saturday with a drop goal in the last play of the game.

There was a great atmosphere about the Greenyards after last week’s game, he added, but the squad knew a challenging couple of months lay ahead, with eight league games on the bounce.

Relegated Gala, aiming to scale the ladder back to the BT Premiership, enjoyed a 34-28 Division One bonus-point win in Aberdeen.

Captain Graham Speirs said he was really happy to “get the ball rolling on a good note” and keen to meet Dundee HSFP at Netherdale.

Dundee would be confident, he added, but Gala had shown recently that they could “front up and score tries”.

The Maroons had to get their foundations in place, play in the right areas of the park and maybe score some tries later on, he added.

But they knew there would be no easy games in Division One – against Aberdeen, they had perhaps been “a little frantic with ball in hand” and their game management wasn’t quite right, added Speirs.

Division One consisted of a number of teams they knew well and a number they hadn’t played for a while, admitted Speirs, but every team on the day would be competitive.