Melrose 48

Stirling County 18

Atholl Innes

at the Greenyards

THE Melrose bandwagon continued in the spring sun on Saturday at the Greenyards as they outpaced and outshone Stirling County to again reach the BT Cup final at Murrayfield next month.

Coach Robert Chrystie, in his first season in charge, praised his players for not only coming back from a 0-11 deficit to romp into the final, but also the support which he receives both on and off the field.

“Stirling put us under a lot of pressure at the start and their plan worked well,” he said.

"But to finish at 48-18 is very satisfying.

“The performance is not just about me. We have a great support team on and off the field. Competition is keen for places and we have to strike the right balance.

“These were perfect conditions and we scored some excellent tries.

"We recovered well from the bad start, when Stirling went 11 points ahead, but we hit back well and Currie (play-off tie this Saturday) is now in our focus and we have to kick on.”

The performance demonstrated the players’ attitude and commitment on a hot afternoon to turn this semi-final round with an exciting display of open rugby that left their opponents rattled by scoring seven tries on the perfect afternoon for running the ball.

Stirling battled hard and were buoyed by their start, before Melrose shifted into top gear with some electrifying pace to turn round at half-time 19-11 ahead.

It looked positive for Stirling as Logan Trotter ran on to a delicate chip from Alex Black to touch down in just two minutes and Ross Thomson kicked two penalties for a 11-0 lead.

However, Melrose gained an air of confidence. Fraser Thomson and Grant Runciman were in sparkling form, relishing in the dry conditions, and linked well to send Sam Pecquer over.

And Thomson also scored to put Melrose ahead for the first time.

Melrose were now dominant for Russell Anderson to be driven over and Jason Baggot converted for a crucial lead.

It was one-way traffic after the break as Nick Beavon scored a brace of tries with Nyle Godsmark and Ruairdh Knott forcing their way over the Stirling line - Baggot finishing with five conversions and a penalty.

Adam Sinclair scored a consolation try for Stirling, Thomson converting.

Melrose: F. Thomson; A. Lockington, N. Godsmark, G. Taylor, S. Pecquer; J. Baggot, M. McAndrew; J. Bhatti, R. Anderson, R. McLeod, J. Head, A. Welsh, N. Irvine-Hess, G. Runciman, R. Knott. Replacements: C. MacKay, D. Elkington, N. Beavon, A. Grieve, B. Colvine, C. Jackson, G. Wood.