Despite, playing some very good rugby at The Greenyards today, Melrose were unable to get a second successive victory in the British & Irish Cup.
The Borderers, lost 14-29 to Welsh Premiership leaders, Llandovery in what was a very fast paced and expansive game.
But ultimately, it was too many loose passes and missed tackles that saw Melrose score just two tries and concede five.
Head coach, Craig Chalmers, said: “Full credit to the players, we kept going at Llandovery for the entire game, but we made too many basic errors.
We had a lot of possession, particularly in the second half, but our opponents were more clinical than we were. Our passes didn’t connect well at times and we missed a number of opportunities because of that.
“I think if we were the next team to score when it was 24-14 we could have brought it back. However, we must now build on the positives from today’s game and look forward to our RBS Premier Division match against Stirling County next week.”
In the first-half both teams played well, running straight and powerful lines and with wide passes many gaps were found. But it was Llandovery, who won the contest with two tries and two conversions in comparison to Melrose’s one.
For the Welsh, it was winger Chris Knight and tighhead prop Dean Howells who crossed the whitewash, with stand-off James Garland converting both scores. For the hosts, Andrew Skeen broke the line and three quick off-loads later he re-gathered and touched down.
Half-time: Melrose 7-14 Llandovery
In the second-half, Melrose continued to open up the channels when they had the ball and they found themselves metres from Llandovery’s line on a number of occasions, but more mishaps came and they only managed to score once more.
Their final points came from Edinburgh Rugby back-row Roddy Grant, on 64 minutes, after Skeen broke through the line again and had Grant on his shoulder to dive in for the try. Skeen converted.
Unfortunately, this score was surrounded by three Llandovery tries, none of which were converted. The scorers were winger Jake Randall, scrum-half Rhodri Williams – who commanded the game from start to finish – and centre Jack Roberts.
Worth noting, are the performances of scrum-half Bruce Colvine and back-row Andrew Nagle. they both carried well and gained a lot of ground for Melrose, when attacking.
Full-time: Melrose 14-29 Llandovery
Fortunes weren’t much better for the other four Scottish, British & Irish Cup teams either today. All four suffered at the hands of their opponents. Dundee went down 6-32 at Mayfield against Cornish Pirates, while Stirling County lost on the road to Bedford Blues, 10-87; London Scottish were edged by Moseley 37-41 and Gala missed out 28-38, against Llanelli.
Melrose team: Fraser Thomson; Lewis Mallin, Bruce Dick, Joe Helps, Usaia Kalamafoni Jnr; Andrew Skeen, Bruce Colvine; Nicky Little, Alun Walker, Gary Holborn, John Dalziel, Ross Miller, Roddy Grant, Grant Runciman, Andrew Nagle. Replacements: Wayne Mitchell, Colin Arthur, Stuart Johnson, Ross Ovens, Scott McCormick, Richard Mill and Sam Chalmers.
Llandovery team: Lee Rees; Chris Knight, Sam Soul, Jack Roberts, Jake Randall; James Garland, Rhodri Williams; Dorian Williams, Luke Lewis, Dean Howells, Phil Day, Llewelyn Jones, Richard Brooks, Lloyd Phillips, Luke Kendall. Replacements: Andrew Jones, Wyn Jones, Bryn Griffiths, Shaun Miles, Adam Yelland, Cerith Rees, Matthew Jacobs.
Referee: Sean Gallacher