Leaders are stunned by
gritty Melrose in thriller

Melrose RFC's Richard Mill
Melrose RFC's Richard Mill



Melrose did just enough in the capital on Saturday to reconfirm their place in the play-offs.

Despite a temperature of four degrees centigrade and a fair breeze, this Premiership clash was played in bright sunny conditions and on an excellent pitch.

Melrose started with the sun at their backs, but the kick-off to the stand side misfired and went straight into touch.

From the resultant scrum on the halfway line, Melrose were awarded a penalty and elected to kick to touch.

Another penalty came from Heriot’s foul play at the line-out and this was kicked to touch 10m from the Heriot’s line.

The maul from the lineout ended with Graeme Dodds crashing over in the left corner for the game’s first try.

Unfortunately, Richard Mill’s conversion attempt drifted wide of the left upright.

Graham Wilson kicked a brace of quickfire penalties to give the home side the lead.

But in the 25th minute, Heriot’s second rower Russell Nimmo irritated the referee enough to be yellow-carded, with Mill kicking the penalty points from in front of the posts.

Wilson and Mill swapped penalties at 30 and 33 minutes before Mill missed another four minutes before the break, to leave an interval score of 9-11.

The second half was a battle of the defences, with neither attack being able to prevail. On 60 minutes, having been caught carrying out some nefarious work on the ground, the visitors’ Hugh Blake earned himself a seat in the sin-bin.

Inexplicably, Graham Wilson’s kick at goal drifted wide, a feat which he managed to repeat just before Blake’s return to the fray.

With seven minutes remaining, the league leaders nicked a Melrose throw-in at a line-out and Gregor McNeish started the second half scoring with a drop goal.

Six minutes later, Mill responded with a drop goal of his own to give Melrose victory and return the Bill McLaren Shield to The Greenyards.