Stirling County 7

Melrose 30

Atholl Innes at Bridgehaugh

MELROSE’S win at Bridgehaugh under the shadow of the Wallace Monument was as inevitable as it was emphatic on a heavy pitch.

Against a Stirling side with several players missing due to under-20s international duty, Melrose could afford to fall behind to an early try and Jason Baggot missing four conversions and a penalty, including one in front of the posts when he struck the upright.

The victory gave Melrose pole position in the Premiership and a home match against Currie in the play-offs after hosting the cup semi-final as well.

Melrose dominated the second half and there was little concern as referee Cammy Rudkin did not play any injury time of note – in a previous game he added 12 minutes.

Stirling, as always, battled hard, but after the interval were swept under a Melrose avalanche of tries… four to add to Baggot’s first-half score.

It was one-way traffic as, not for the first time this season, Melrose turned up the heat and power, driven on by the pack as the backs made the best of the conditions after heavy rain.

Mark Hunter was driven over for Stirling’s first try in only 11 minutes, Ross Jones converting, and it took a break which allowed Baggot to touch down in 29 minutes after he had pulled back three points with a penalty.

Even at only 8-7 ahead, the lead was secure and Ally Grieve, Nyle Godsmark, Russell Anderson and Austin Lockington added further scores, Baggot converting.

On a good day, the scoreline might have embarrassed Stirling even more.

But with so many inexperienced players in their side, the hosts, as stated by coach Dave Adamson, had ‘retained Premiership status after a season of mixed opportunities'.

Not a big crowd either as the fans raced off to watch the international on television – many wishing they had not done!

Melrose: F. Thomson; A. Lockington, N. Godsmark, G. Taylor, G. Wood; J. Baggot, B. Colvine; D. Elkington, R. Anderson, R. McLeod, A. Grieve, A. Bressler, R. Knott, G. Runciman, I. Moody. Replacements: C. MacKay, C. Crookshanks, N. Irvine-Hess, M. McAndrew, D. Colvine.