Melrose consolidate first place

Glasgow Hawks 13

Melrose 23


IAIN HOUSTON reports from Old Anniesland

WITH Graeme Dodds failing a late fitness test, Melrose had to rejig the pack prior to kick-off in this top-of-the-table clash, with Hadyn Mitchell being given a starting place.

In brilliant sunshine and with a cold breeze at their backs, ’Rose attacked from the very start and put in a sustained 20 minutes of pressure. Scott Wight missed two penalties before a successful kick, which was followed by a Jamie Murray knock-on on the Hawks 22 when almost through and a third Wight penalty miss.

Hawks then put in a six-minute period of pressure on their first visit to the Melrose half with Mike Adamson knocking over two penalties of his own, the second after Melrose’s John Dalziel was yellow-carded for a technical infringement. Two minutes later, Hawks centre David Milne also visited the sin-bin.

With three minutes of the half remaining, Fraser Thomson knocked-on just short of the line, but, within seconds, Joe Helps nipped in for a try converted by Wight. Half-time: Glasgow Hawks 6 Melrose 10.

Ten minutes into the second half, Wight opted for a kick to touch. From the line-out Melrose went through six phases of play before a short pop-up pass from Robert Chrystie allowed Graham Innes to dive in for a try converted by Wight.

On 55 minutes, as a result of a high tackle, Dalziel received his second yellow, and thus a red, card. Against 14 men Hawks put in another sustained period of pressure and, at 60 minutes, were rewarded with a penalty try. Adamson converted.

Showing considerable character the Melrose team rallied, allowing Wight to kick two penalties. The latter, a monster penalty from the left side of halfway, as a result of Rory McKay being yellow-carded, thus evening up the teams.

The final 10 minutes found Melrose with their backs to the wall, putting in a tremendous defensive effort to deny the hosts any form of bonus point.

Melrose: F. Thomson, C. Anderson, J. Murray, J. Helps, A. Dodds, S. Wight, R. Chrystie, N. Beavon, W. Mitchell, G. Holborn, G. Elder, H. Mitchell, J. Dalziel, G. Runciman, R. Miller. Subs: G. Innes, R. Higgins, S. Johnson, S. McCormick, C. Jackson.