RBS Premiership: Melrose 26-10 Currie

A comfortable 26-10 home victory for Melrose over Currie, was enough to secure the Greenyards side the RBS Premiership trophy for 2013/14, in light of Gala’s loss to Ayr (34-33).  

Damien Hoyland scores for Melrose

It was a relatively flat encounter in which Melrose’s ability to starve their opposition of possession seemed to be the telling factor.

Melrose played the more exciting brand of rugby although a nervousness seemed evident in their ranks as they often wasted many potentially fruitful attacking opportunities.

The first-half started slowly with Melrose centre Joe Helps and Currie full-back George Horne both grabbing one penalty a piece in a tit for tat, error strewn opening first quarter. 3-3

However, Melrose seemed to pick up the tempo after 20 minutes, scrum-half Bruce Colvine and stand-off Richard Mill dictating the position of play through a clever tactical kicking game keeping Currie pinned back in the depths of their own half.

Melrose were inventive with their possession in the first-half, looking to shift the ball wide and play an up-beat and energetic game. Yet despite their initiative, unforced errors in critical areas squandered Melrose countless chances to put the score out of their opposition’s reach.  Joe Helps added another two penalties, the 9-3 score not reflective of the run of play.

A fantastic break from Melrose back-row Graeme Dodds on the cusp of half-time, picking off the base of the ruck on the half-way line, allowed him to release Colvine who darted over the whitewash. Helps converted to give the home side a 16-3 lead on the whistle.

Half-time: Melrose 16-3 Currie

The second-half started much like the first, neither side indenting the others 22 metre line for the opening 20 minutes of the half.

A spear tackle from Currie’s back-row Mike Vernal, forced referee Andrew McMenemy to reach into his pocket and produce a yellow card for the offender. Joe Helps stepped up to send his team a further three points in front, 19-3, widening the gap and making any prospect of a Currie comeback unlikely.

In Vernal’s absence Currie surprisingly seemed the stronger of the two sides, maintaining possession well, yet their pressure was to be of no avail.

Edinburgh Rugby’s new signing, wing Damien Hoyland, was next on the score sheet finishing off a wonderfully constructed move off the base of the scrum. A solid Melrose scrum allowed Graeme Dodds to break up the blindside linking up with Colvine once again and then to Hoyland who outstripped the Currie defence on the outside and jinked inside Horne to cross for the try – Helps once again adding the extras to take the score to 26-3.

All credit to Currie their spirit was yet to be extinguished as they battled on, eventually scoring a consolation try through lock Sean Cox. The conversion from the boot of Horne, brought Currie’s tally to ten, yet it was too little too late as the final-whistle was blown moments after.

Full-time: Melrose 26-10 Currie

Melrose team: Austin Lockington; Damien Hoyland, Bruce Dick, Joe Helps, Callum Anderson; Richard Mill, Bruce Colvine; Nicky Little, Todd Pearce (captain), Gary Holborn, James Head, Lewis Carmichael, Peter Eccles, Grant Runciman and Graham Dodds.

Replacements: Richard Ferguson, Lewis Niven, Ruairidh Knott, Andrew Skeen and Allan Dodds.

Currie team: George Horne; Harvey Elms, Joe Reynolds Joaquin Dominguez, Ethan Pollock; James Semple, Richard Snedden; John Cox, David Cherry, Alastair Hamilton, Sean Cox, Petre Netrascu, Mark Cairns (captain), Malcolm Peacock and Ross Weston.

Replacements: Graeme Carson, Fraser Watts, Gary Temple, Lewis Young and Ruaridh Smith.

Referee: Andrew McMenemy