The only slightly unexpected element in this Booker Border League match at the Greenyards last Friday night was the dreich weather.
Following two glorious days of late summer sunshine the heavens opened making handling and passing difficult to say the least, oh well.... it is the start of the rugby season.
The lessons taken from the game by both Melrose and Jed-Forest however will be invaluable as they go forward into their respective, Premier and National League campaigns.
Melrose should, and definitely could, have scored more, while handling errors hampered the visitors’ efforts in what was otherwise a typically gutsy display.
New Jed coach Jammy McFarlane certainly thought so.
“I’m a very happy man tonight,” he said.
“We have two or three new players in the squad and a lot of youngsters stepping up so to play one of the top teams in the country is great. Their class showed through at the end of the day but the game served it’s purpose for us.
“In terms of experience for the young fellows it’s money in the bank and it also provided a good work out for the more seasoned guys.
“It was certainly a test of our depth and I’m really happy with that also. We caused them more than a little trouble along the way, our discipline was good and the penalty count went in our favour.”
Melrose captain Nick Beavon commented: “Jed always prove to be stiff opposition especially at the breakdown and I thought we handled it well.
“The new guys coming in showed up well and will be looking to get their names on a jersey, all in all I thought it was pretty impressive.”
Beavon was first over for Melrose with new boy Jason Baggott adding the conversion. Ally Miller added another try before Jed got points on the board with a Donald Grieve penalty.
The remainder of the half was played out in the Jed half of the pitch and it was much credit to a staunch visiting defence that Melrose only managed another two tries before the break. Andrew Nagle and Cameron Mackay both crossing the whitewash with Baggott adding one conversion.
Jed enjoyed a larger share of possession after the restart but a further four tries from Grant Runciman, Ruairidh Knott, David Colvine and Sam Pecqueur, Baggott converting one, killed the game as a contest. Jamie Hynd crossed for Jed’s only try converted by Grieve.