Melrose 54

Watsonians 22

Eilidh Walker at The Greenyards

MELROSE scored 11 tries to storm to a bonus point win over Watsonians on the opening weekend of the season at the Greenyards on Saturday.

The game was the first in charge for new Watsonians head coach Steve Lawrie, whose team finished seventh in last year’s table, while Melrose looked to continue their form from last season which saw them finish top of the table.

It was Watsons who were the first on the score sheet with a penalty from Ewan Fox after five minutes.

But Melrose were quick to extinguish this lead.

The first try of the day came off the back of a driving maul from Melrose inside the Watsonians 22, the ball was sent wide to Fraser Thomson who drew the opposition in and freed Sam Pecquer to cross the line.

Craig Jackson missed the conversion.

With just over ten minutes played Watsonians lost their first player of the match to the sin bin when former Selkirk back row Angus Duckett was yellow carded for a challenge on Ruaridh Knott.

With the next play, Melrose produced a carbon copy of their previous try but this time Thomson was able to use the numerical advantage to cross the line himself. Jackson slotted in the penalty to take the score to 12-3.

Watsonians' woes were compounded when prop Kyle Whyte was also yellow carded for an offence in the lineout after 18 minutes to reduce the visitors to 13 men.

Just two minutes later, another drive from the Melrose pack enabled Russell Anderson to cross for a try, duly converted by Jackson to increase the lead to 19-3.

Melrose captain Grant Runciman was the next on the score sheet when he outpaced several Watsons defenders to run in the bonus point try from just inside the opposition’s 22, with Jackson adding the extras 26-3.

Jackson’s kicking was again on point when in the dying minutes of the first-half an infield kick found replacement Ally Miller who charged over the line. Jackson added the conversion, 33-3.

Watsonians managed to secure a conciliatory try before half time when all but three of their players mauled the ball over the line, Ewan Fox added the conversation to take the half time score to 33-10.

After the break, the pace of play slowed for a while but Watsons couldn’t break through the Melrose defence.

The Melrose backs maintained the control of the match when Ross McCann and Thomson added further tries, Jackson and Jason Baggott added the conversations, 47-10.

With just over ten minutes left of the game, Thomson crossed for a third try of the match and his 100th try overall for Melrose. Jackson scored the conversion to complete Melrose’s points haul.

Before the final whistle Watsons clawed back two tries through centre Michael Allen and Duckett.

Ewan Fox added a conversion to take the final score to 54-22.

Melrose’s Bruce Colvine was also yellow carded in the closing minutes of the game but having already secured the win, this had little impact.

Melrose head coach, Rob Chrystie said: “I think we played well, we wanted to set out our stall early doors up front and we definitely did that.

"We wanted to get in amongst it and see what they were about and the boys went for it.

"There are definitely things we need to work on and we will need to play better next week, we’ll review and work hard during the week."

Melrose will host Boroughmuir at the Greenyards on Saturday.

Melrose: F Thomson, R McCann, N Godsmark, C Jackson, S Pecqueur, J Baggott, M McAndrew, G Shiels, R Anderson, N Beavon, A Runciman, R Knott, N Irvine-Hess, I Moody, G Runciman Reps: R Ferguson, R McLeod, A Miller, B Colvine, B Chalmers