BT Premiership: Melrose 51-15 Boroughmuir 

image: Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

ALAN LORIMER @ The Greenyards

MELROSE brought their try tally to seventeen from the opening two rounds of the BT Premiership after running in nine scores against what was admittedly an understrength Boroughmuir side. 

After an attritional match against Ayr in the first round of the championship, Boroughmuir were forced to go to The Greenyards without playmaker, Chris Laidlaw, winger Jordan Edmonds and centre Ronan Kerr, but even with their top flight performers the visitors would have found it difficult to resist a Melrose team clearly on song.

Conceding that it had been a difficult afternoon for his side, Boroughmuir coach, Peter Wright said : “I thought we played pretty well in the first half but after the break they were absolutely clinical. They have quality players in their back three and in the middle Craig Jackson just controls things.”

The dinner will be compered by Stewart Weir. Cost: £100 per ticket with a 10% discount for two or more tables (of ten). The profits will be split between the The Doddie Weir’5 Discretionary Trust, the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation and the Melrose RFC Legacy Project. Please contact: legacy@melroserugby.org.

“It’s a lesson for the boys but when you go into a game without five first team backs it’s difficult. It was frustrating. At half-time we were in the hunt but we made mistakes and they capitalised. We’ve got a lot of new faces in this team and we’ve just got to keep building.”

The final score certainly did not reflect Boroughmuir’s first half performance that put pressure on Melrose and forced the home side to ‘up’ the intensity of their defence, after Sean Kennedy, released by Edinburgh, made several telling breaks. At times, too, the visiting midfield handled well and showed incision.

Arguably Boroughmuir made it easier for Melrose, when Lewis Carmichael, a former favourite at The Greenyards,  spent ten minutes in the bin for a ‘spear’ tackle on Sam Pecqueur, during which time the home side ran in two tries.

But there was no denying that once Melrose moved into a scoring rhythm they looked imperious and a half century of points always looked likely as their forwards bossed the frontal battle and their backs went through a repertoire of exciting moves.

Melrose were helped by the release from Edinburgh of the Scotland Sevens centre James Johnstone, whose clever attacking angles and sheer pace created two of the Melrose second half tries.

The score might have been even greater had Craig Jackson kicked more conversions. In the event he succeeded with just three from nine but with all his attempts from the touchline it was always going to be difficult.

Jackson, however, is the man who pulls the strings, his calm presence and astute judgment giving the Melrose backline its potency. He took over the captaincy after Grant Runciman was taken off, and said afterwards that his side’s try bonanza over the opening two games should not be read as a sure sign of success against Ayr in round three.

“We’ve got a lot to work on before we go to Millbrae and not get carried away with our two opening results. We’ve got to look after the ball better but we can’t complain after scoring nine tries. As for my goal-kicking it wasn’t quite on the money. I’ve got to go away and work on this, because there will come a time when these kicks are crucial,” he said.

In a match that eventually ran away from them,  Boroughmuir actually looked potent in the opening exchanges but their  sole first half reward was a penalty goal  by stand-off Ciaran Whyte.

Then Melrose struck twice while Carmichael was in the sin-bin, Ross McCann gathering the sweetest of cross kicks from Jackson before racing over and Fraser Thomson profiting from an overlap to score the first of his brace for a 10-3 interval lead.

Melrose began the second half with intent with a driving maul and then a switch to the blind-side that gave Sam Pecqueur a try in the corner converted by Jackson.

A surge from a line-out by Carmichael gave Boroughmuir their first try, the ball swung left to Greg Cannie before teenager Dan Marek piled over. It was to be only a small riposte by the Edinburgh side, however, and they then watched the scoreboard race away from them ominously quickly as Runciman completed a driving maul for the bonus point and then Thomson raced in for his second try, converted by Jackson.

Pecqueur touched down for his second score before replacement scrum-half Bruce Colvine added a brace of tries, the second of these, converted by Jackson.

Reward for Muir’s staying power finally came when Carmichael crashed over under the posts leaving Whyte with an easy conversion kick, but, inevitably, Melrose had the final say, this time their backs showing quick hands as the ball was transferred to Pecqueur for the wing to complete his hat-trick.

Teams –

Melrose:  F Thomson; R McCann, N Godsmark, C Jackson, S Pecqueur; J Baggott, M McAndrew; G Shiels, R Anderson, N Beavon, A Runciman, I Moody, N Irvine-Hess, G Runciman, A Miller.  Subs used R Ferguson, R McLeod, R Knott, B Colvine, J Johnstone.

Boroughmuir: S Chalmers; G Welsh, G Cannie, M Hare, R Scott; C Whyte, S Kennedy; R Dunbar, J Matthews, D Winning, C Keddie, L Carmichael, A Mcube, M Walker, T Brennan. Subs used: C Davies, D Robertson, D Marek, G Inness, J Adams.

Referee: B Blain

Scorers –

Melrose: Tries: McCann, Thomson 2, Colvine 2, G Runciman, Pecqueur 3; Cons: Jackson 3.

Boroughmuir: Tries: Marek, Carmichael; Pen; Whyte; Con; Whyte.

Scoring Sequence (Melrose first): 0-3; 5-3; 10-3 (h-t) 15-3; 17-3; 17-8; 22-8; 27-8; 29-8; 34-8; 39-8; 44-8; 46-8; 46-13; 46-15; 51-15.

Yellow cards –

Melrose: McLeod (77)

Boroughmuir: Carmichael (18), Hare (74)

Man-of-the-Match: Hooker Russell Anderson was the heart of the Melrose driving play and his effectiveness in carrying ball frequently put his side on the front foot. Behind the scrum, just about all the Melrose backs could have been given the award but Craig Jackson despite a difficult day off the tee was the grand orchestrator.

Talking point: Melrose have set a scorching pace in the BT Premiership to underline their title credentials. But they have yet to be tested and their next match at Millbrae will tell us how good they really are. Meanwhile, Boroughmuir will struggle until their top flight players return. Their match at The Greenyards was a set back but don’t write them off just yet.

Join the discussion:

We hope you have enjoyed reading this article

We invite you to support our work reporting on all levels and aspects of the game in Scotland. Like us, you have probably noticed the decline in media coverage. Our reporters have been journalists for our national papers for many years and decided to do something about that paucity of coverage.

 

When I discovered The Offside Line, I found a source of news I can turn to for the latest on club and country with authority and a passion for all things Scottish rugby. 

 Johnnie R, Perthshire

You can help. For as little as £2 you can support the work of The Offside Line – and it only takes a minute.

Subscribe to The offside Line

Alan Lorimer
About Alan Lorimer 51 Articles
Alan was educated at Harris Academy, Aberdeen University and Heriot-Watt University. Now based in the Scottish Borders. Played rugby for London Scottish and represented Scottish and British Universities in athletics as a sprinter/jumper. Competed for Edinburgh Southern Harriers, winning national titles in 4x100m and 4x400m. After teaching mathematics in further education, active sports career morphed into freelance sports journalism. Scotland rugby correspondent for The Times for six years and subsequently contributed to Sunday Times, Daily and Sunday Telegraph, Scotsman, Herald, Scotland on Sunday, Sunday Herald and Reuters. Worked in Radio for BBC. Overseas work has included Scotland’s summer tours (1988-2000) to New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga and North America. Also covered IRB World Sevens Series tournaments in Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur and London and IRB world championships at under-19, under-21 and under-20 levels. Alan is Scottish rugby journalism's leading voice when it comes to youth and schools rugby.