’Rose miss out on bonus but stay ahead of the pack

Ayr 23

Melrose 34


PLAYING with the wind behind them, Ayr took full advantage to build up a healthy half-time lead in this top-of-the-table clash.

Nick Elrick kicked a penalty after three minutes, but Andrew Skeen came back with a similar award, and, eight minutes after that, doubled the Melrose tally with his second penalty. However, not to be outdone, Elrick kicked his second penalty four minutes later.

Midway through the half, Steve Manning and Grant Anderson touched down in quick succession before a deliberate obstruction by Melrose allowed Ayr to be awarded a penalty try, converted by Elrick.

Half time: Ayr 23 Melrose 6.

With the wind advantage in the second half, Melrose’s fortunes changed. Two minutes in, Fraser Thomson raced over for a try converted by Skeen, who dropped a goal four minutes later.

Skeen kept the Melrose score ticking over by kicking a penalty, before Grant Runciman’s try, converted by Skeen, gave Melrose the lead for the first time since early in the first half.

Melrose had upped the ante in the second half and for some 20 minutes Ayr hardly touched the ball. Joe Helps added a try and just before no-side, Skeen kicked his fourth penalty, but despite their undoubted effort, Melrose were unable to obtain that elusive bonus-point try.

Melrose: F. Thomson; A. Dodds, J. Murray, C. Murray, J. Helps; A. Skeen, S. McCormick; C. Keen, R. Ferguson, G. Holborn, G. Elder, R. Miller, J. Dalziel, G. Runciman, G. Dodds. Subs: W. Mitchell, K. Cooney, P. Eccles, B. Colvine, B. Dick.