Boroughmuir 13 Melrose 23
The RBS Premier 1 Championship silverware remains in storage for the moment after tonight’s nervy encounter at Meggetland but in truth it would appear to be heading back into the trophy cabinet at the Greenyards.
Two tries in the closing ten minutes gave Melrose a victory of which they made such heavy weather. Cue the mathematicians – Dundee HSFP, their closest rivals, are now required to win against Stirling County at Mayfield tomorrow, secure a four try bonus point and boost their points differential by 53 points to deprive ‘Rose of the title.
For long enough the sizable Dundee contingent at tonight’s match could have been forgiven for feeling that Muir were the title challengers, such was the gusto with which they began the game in contrast to self-induced errors from the visitors.
Did the game turn on an incident in the 28th minute of the first half? ‘Muir were already leading 7-3 and appeared to have scored a wonderful fleet-footed try through their winger Sepp Visser. However, touch-judge Gus Tweedale flagged and after consultation from referee Rob Dickson the try was ruled out and home tighthead prop Johnny Latta was shown the red card for foul play against Cameron Murray.
Even with the extra man Melrose could make little headway and there were probably two episodes in the second-half which eventually swung the contest in their favour.
The first was tactical with Scott Wight, the Glasgow Warriors stand-off bringing the cutting edge that had been missing. The second was typical Cameron Murray. The veteran former Scotland internationalist got back to save as Malcolm Clapperton was poised to latch on to a wicked bounce when Boroughmuir were leading 13-6. Murray departed the field in tears, possibly of joy, as the suggestion was that he was retiring following tonight’s game. We shall see.
In any event, from trailing 6-13 on the hour Melrose at last made their pressure tell. Wight kicked his first penalty to add to two earlier scores from Andrew Skeen and then tries from substitute Nick McGrath and full-back Fraser Thomson, both converted by Wight took Melrose home.
Earlier Warnock had converted a fine score from Muir’s left winger Redha Guedroudj, following up a kick ahead from Stevie Wilson. Warnock also landed two second-half penalties before the Melrose heroics turned the script around.
Boroughmuir: Keith Buchan; Sepp Visser, Malcolm Clapperton, Stevie Wilson, Redha Guedroudj; Ally Warnock, Sam Johnson; Nick Fraser, Greg Jones, Johnny Latta, Greg Scott, Alistair Davidson, Neil Rodger, Alex Henderson and Jamie Swanson. Subs: Callum Mackintosh, Robbie Wilson, Iain Moody, Andy Watt and Michael Crawley.
Melrose: Fraser Thomson; Allan Dodds, Bruce Dick, Cameron Murray, Joe Helps; Andrew Skeen, Bruce Colvine; Nick Beavon, Richard Ferguson, Gary Holborn, Peter Eccles, Ross Miller, Ross Ovens, Grant Runciman and Graeme Dodds. Subs: Chris Keen, Scott Wight, Scott McCormick and Nick McGrath.
Referee: Rob Dickson (Madras College FP)