Storm whipping up enthusiasm for historic title chance

Melrose Storm in possession during a match this season with Ayr 2nds (picture by Douglas Hardie).
Melrose Storm in possession during a match this season with Ayr 2nds (picture by Douglas Hardie).

Melrose Storm have a chance at BT Reserve Division One history if the weather permits Stirling County 2XV’s visit to the Greenyards Saturday.

While their first XV club counterparts have looked to atone for last season’s play-off final defeat to Ayr, with headline grabbing performances, the Storm have quietly been taking care of business with equally thrilling displays of their own.

They Storm require just two points from their final two games to become the first side to go back-to-back-to-back Reserve Division One winners, a feat never achieved before in Reserve League history.

“Thinking back to our first game, a loss to Watsonians, I didn’t think we’d be in this position,” said Storm head coach, Scott Johnston, adding the side would be aiming to clinch their third consecutive title with a bang on Saturday, if the game went ahead.

“Everyone knows two losing bonus points will guarantee us the league but no one’s thinking about clinching it that way,” he said. “The only thing that’s on the boys’ minds is a win on Saturday and an historic third title.”

The Storm has been here before but, this time, the achievement is made more impressive by having played the vast majority of the season with a side which had an average age of just 19.

“In a league that is effectively a feeder to most Premiership sides, to be playing 18 and 19-year-olds, and be winning, is a huge achievement,” added Johnston.

“But, as coaches, we aren’t surprised, because we see how hard these boys work.”

“The first XV and Storm boys train together on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Those sessions against one of the best teams in Scotland helps the development of these boys. They see the level they need to be at if they want to be playing first grade rugby and adjust accordingly.

“They bring a mentality to training and games that makes our job as coaches so much easier. They are hungry and want to keep improving. You can see it from our results just how hard those boys work and why five Storm boys have played for Melrose first XV this season.

“What we’ve managed to achieve this season has been impressive but the job isn’t done yet. We still need to finish it on Saturday.”