Melrose open 17/18 season with BT Charity Shield win
Melrose opened the 2017/18 season with an impressive and entertaining win over BT Premiership rivals Ayr to lift the BT Charity Shield at Millbrae.
The visitors took the lead when hooker Richard Ferguson piled over after a period of sustained pressure however Ayr were quick in response, as prop Adam Prentice did likewise -stand-off Ben Chalmers' missed conversion the numerical difference between the sides early on.
Former Scotland U20 back-row, Tommy Spinks - newly recruited to the Ayr's ranks - was penalised for kicking the ball in the ruck - in conflict with the recent law amendments - with which Chalmers goaled to make up for his earlier error.
Ayr stand-off Fraser Climo then did likewise with a three-pointer of his own.
Melrose prop Nick Beavon was the man in possession as the men in yellow drove home a lineout to extend his side's lead, before influential Kiwi, Climo, was yellow carded for a deliberate knock on, conceding a penalty try - the first of the new season to accrue an automatic seven points.
A fine box kick from scrum-half Murdo McAndrew found space for Scotland U20 and BT Sport Academy speedster Ross McCann to kick ahead and score, before experienced full-back Fraser Thomson crossed for another as Melrose pulled away.
Climo returned to the field with much for Ayr to do and they began their response as lock Rob McAlpine barged over under the posts before half-time.
Half time: Ayr 17-32 Melrose
Back-row Blair Macpherson then scored to narrow the gap further still as Ayr's momentum began to build up steam.
Melrose, however, had other plans and halted the comeback through wing Sam Pecqeuer, who bolted over.
Macpherson scored a second to rein the visitors back in but it was in vain as McCann showed his keen eye for the try-line once more.
Full-time: Ayr (17 )31-44 (21) Melrose
AYR: 15. Grant Anderson; 14. Jamie Bova, 13. Danny McCluskey, 12. Scott Lyle, 11. Craig Gossman; 10. Frazier Climo, 9. David Armstrong; 1. Robbie Smith, 2. Lewis Anderson, 3. Adam Prentice, 4. Robert McAlpine, 5. Scott Sutherland, 6. Blair Macpherson, 7. Tommy Spinks, 8. Pete McCallum CAPTAIN. Substitutes: 16. David Young, 17. George Hunter, 18. Jonny Agnew, 19. George Stokes, 20. Harry Warr, 21. Paddy Dewhirst, 22. Sam Graham.
MELROSE: 15. Fraser Thomson; 14. Ross McCann, 13. Nyle Godsmark, 12. Gavin Wood, 11. Sam Pecqueur; 10. Ben Chalmers, 9. Murdo McAndrew; 1. Grant Sheils, 2. Richard Ferguson, 3. Nick Beavon, 4. Angus Runciman, 5. Ruaridh Knott, 6. Neil Irvine-Hess, 7. Grant Runciman CAPTAIN, 8. Ian Moody. Substitutes: 16. Conall Howard, 17. Ruari McLeaod, 18. Ruari Campbell, 19. Ali Grieve, 20. Bruce Colvine, 21. Craig Jackson, 22. Patrick Anderson.
Image credit: Alan Graham