First Half Melrose Masterclass Wins The Cup

Melrose 31 Heriot's 24
A first half Melrose masterclass saw them capture the Scottish Hydro Electric Cup in front of 6000 jubilant fans at Murrayfield tonight. The game was a magnificent display of skill and though the dominance of Melrose in the first half meant it couldn't quite live up to the tension of the previous games the game was blessed with sufficient skill and scoring to please any neutral. Four first half tries without reply meant Heriot’s had it all to do in the second half and despite coming back with four tries of their own in the second, it wasn’t enough to topple the talented Borders side.

Melrose got off to the best possible start as winger David Whiteford broke through the Heriot’s back line and sent a lovely lobbed miss pass to full back Jordan Macey out wide on the right who finished at the corner flag. The try was converted by Scott Wight, 7-0.

Melrose were gifted their second of the afternoon when winger David Whiteford pounced on a telegraphed Heriot’s pass, intercepting on the 10 metre line, the pacy winger backed himself all the way and crossed the line between the posts much to the delight of the travelling Borders fans who were in full voice. Man of the match Wight added the extras to make it 14-0.

A clinical Melrose side continued to dominate after taking the early lead, reminiscent of their semi final victory over Watsonians at Meggetland, continuously good and accurate kicking from Wight keeping Heriot’s in their own 22.

A rare missed penalty from Wight followed by a wasted try opportunity from the same player meant the Edinburgh side were fortunate not to go a further 10 points behind.

Wight put a perfectly weighted chip through to the right side of the field just inside the 22, the ball bounced kindly to just inside the touchline to Jordan Macey who beat his man and put Wight through with a great pass from contact. Wight, with one man to beat, faked the switch with the supporting Macey but was tackled superbly by Heriot’s captain Marc Teague on the five metre line - a return pass to the supporting Macey would have been the easy option and an easy try.

The missed opportunity mattered not as Melrose outside centre Jamie Murray made a fantastic break on the right before drawing his opposing defender and putting a clean pass through to the talented Jordan Macey, who made a cracking break down the line, and despite the finger tips of Teague catching his jersey on the five metre, the Australian managed a lovely offload to supporting winger Callum Anderson who touched down out right for a magnificent try. Try converted by Scott Wight, 21-0.

With three tries in the bag, Melrose were settling comfortably into the match, with typical forward aggression matched by excellent back play, wonderful to watch and a fantastic advert for Scotland’s club game.

Melrose domination saw out the half with a fourth try in the forty minutes. The boot of Wight targeted at Macey out on the right.

This time the chip was just out of reach and was put into touch by Heriot’s scrum half Graham Wilson.

The resulting lineout was won by Melrose and driven over the line, hooker Wayne Mitchell at the centre of a driving maul that crossed the line on the right of the posts. Wight converted the try as the whistle signalled the end of the first half.

Half time: 28-0

Heriot’s had an up hill struggle to put 28 points past a buoyant Melrose side and despite what needed to be done to bring the side back into contention, their back line appeared to be short of ideas and the ability to change the point of attack, making it easy for Melrose to defend against.

Seven minutes into the second half and Melrose extend their lead further. A penalty awarded for not rolling away from the tackle was awarded. Wight stepped up with an excellent kick from distance and powered the ball through the posts, 31-0.

Fifteen minutes into the second half, Heriot’s got points on the board for the first time in the afternoon. The break came from winger, Cameron Goodall, after some good link play in tight quarters he scored at the left flag. Graham Wilson missed the resulting conversion, 31-5.

With points finally on the board, Heriot’s slowly appeared to be working their way back into the match. Heriot’s kept the ball out of sight of Melrose at the back of a rolling maul as they drove from 15 metres and crossed the line, Innes Brown downing the ball. Wilson added the extras, 31-12.

Heriot's now back in the game, were spending long periods in the Melrose half but failing to capitalise on possession. Any turn over ball was quickly sent to the long accurate boot of stand off Wight who continually kicked them out of danger as Melrose looked to see out the match.

Continued Heriot’s pressure mounted and was maintained on the five metre line. Heriot’s backs shaped up to take the ball wide but a clever pick and go from replacement scrum half, Oliver Brown, found just enough space at the side of the ruck to reach the try line. Another missed Wilson conversion meant the Edinburgh side had little to show for their second half efforts, 31-17.

The spirited fight back ended when Heriot’s full back James Thompson broke to the try line despite efforts from the Melrose defence to force him out of play.

The resulting conversion from Graham Wilson mattered not as the ball sailed through the posts to the sound of the final whistle, the jubilant fans and the thumping drum of their travelling band.

Final score: 31-24

Craig Chalmers, Melrose coach, said: "I dreamt it would be like that last night - not the 28 points in the first-half but it was outstanding. Everyone has worked really hard over the last four months, especially after the disappointment in the league. I’m as proud of this as a coach as I was as a player."

Heriot’s captain Marc Teague reckoned his team were a “bit like rabbits in the headlights” in the first-half. “At half-time we set ourselves the target of scoring four tries and that we did in the second-half. I wished there had been another ten minutes because, to be honest, the momentum was with us but you cannot take anything away from Melrose.”

Man of the match: Scott Wight

Melrose: Jordan Macey; Callum Anderson, Jamie Murray captain, Glen Stewart, David Whiteford; Scott Wight, Scott McCormick; Andrew Gillie, Wayne Mitchell, Richard Higgins, Graeme Dodds, Alec Clark, Stuart Johnson, Ross Miller, Bill Wallace.

Subs (all used): Graham Innes, Nick Beavon, Ross Ovens, Scott Ruthven, Barry Watson, Alec Jessop, Steven Renton

Heriot's: Colin Goudie; Marc Teague captain, James Thompson, Richard Mill, Cameron Goodall; Murray Strang, Graham Wilson; Bruce McNeil, Neil Meikle, Wullie Blacklock, Peter Eccles, Garrett Noonan, Tam McVie, Craig Simmonds, Chris Fusaro.

Subs (all used):- Stewart Mustard, Innes Brown, Greig Anderson, Jamie Parker, Robert Gray, Oliver Brown, Jonathan Alston.