Edinburgh Accies 17

Melrose 48

Atholl Innes

at Raeburn Place

MELROSE moved to the top of the Premiership with a comfortable win that left a struggling Edinburgh Accies stuck in the basement.

It was never going to be anything else as Melrose scored eight tries, and the scoreline at Raeburn Place might have passed the 50-mark if the visitors had kicked more conversions.

To their credit, Accies battled hard and were rewarded with three tries, the last deep into injury time, although President Frank Spratt admitted in the programme ‘that upsetting second-placed Melrose may be a stretch too far’.

Ground improvements, said Spratt, made the ground look like a partial building site, but Melrose were there to show why they are a dominant force in Scottish rugby on the field.

“I was happy with the first-half performance and our accuracy was pretty good,” said coach Rob Chrystie.

“But we fizzled out after the interval and the game became a big disjointed.”

That was probably due to the consistent changes to give everyone a run with some hard games to come, kicking off with Ayr on Saturday at The Greenyards.

Accies, with a powerful pack, hit back after Fraser Thomson’s early try with a score by Michael Badenhorst, who was later yellow carded.

Melrose continued to dominate, but the Accies threat did remain real.

Russell Anderson added a second while further first-half touchdowns came from Bruce Colvine, Gavin Wood and then Anderson again in the eighth minute of first-half injury time, Jason Baggott, who was also sent to the sin bin, adding two conversions for a 29-5 interval lead.

Accies cut the gap in 49 minutes when referee Sam Grove-White awarded the hosts a penalty try after the forwards had been held up on the line following a series of scrums.

Melrose rallied quickly.

Murdo McAndrew, Richard Ferguson and Patrick Anderson all scored, Craig Jackson and Struan Hutchison each kicking a conversion.

But Accies had the last word as Nick Stephen scored in the right-hand corner much to the delight of the home crowd… a little consolation with news that work to start the main contract of improvement will commence imminently.

Melrose seconds did pass through the half century with their victory on Saturday. Storm returned from Hamilton with a 53-7 win.

Melrose: F. Thomson; B. Colvine, P. Anderson, C. Jackson, G. Wood; J. Baggott, M. McAndrew; G. Shiells, R. Anderson, R. McLeod, A. Runciman, C. Young, N. Irvine-Hess, G. Runciman, I. Moody. Replacements: R. Ferguson, C. Wilde, D. Colvine, S. Hutchison, I. Sim.