Boroughmuir 14

Melrose 12

David O'Leary

at Meggetland

MELROSE were pipped at the post in their final Premiership match before the play-offs on Saturday.

In a dramatic finish to an arm-wrestle of a match, Johnny Matthews evaded a tackle to score in the final minute of injury time to draw level.

And Gavin Parker held his nerve to slot the conversion - relegating the Greenyards club to fourth in the table and a tricky away day in the semi-final at Ayr.

Neither team was able to gain an early foothold.

And a string of injuries to the home team prevented any fluency as the sides eyed each other up.

Even when Muir were reduced to 14 with a yellow-card for Dan Winning, Melrose couldn't capitalise.

Once restored to a full compliment it was the Meggetland men who were on top forcing some good defensive work from the visitors.

Melrose did have an opportunity, against the run of play, to edge in front but Craig Jackson's penalty attempt was blown off course.

The rain and the wind made life difficult for both teams - and just when it looked like a pointless first half was drawing to a close, Melrose powered into the lead in the 38th minute.

After several phases it was Angus Runciman who barged across the line.

Jackson was again just wide with his conversion attempt.

A bit like busses, though, you wait 30-odd minutes for a try and then two come along at once.

Just two minutes later, on the stroke of half time, Boroughmuir scored to take the lead.

Good work up the middle led to Tom Wilson nipping over from close range.

Parker added the extras to give the home side a 7-5 advantage at the interval.

The lead was to only last for six minutes of the second half as the Melrose backline finally opened up with Patrick Anderson racing under the posts.

Jackson's conversion gave Melrose a 12-7 advantage - a lead they would hold until the final minute of the match.

Boroughmuir continually knocked on the door as the half wore on but Melrose's defence held firm.

As play moved into injury time a yellow card for Callum Crookshank reduced Melrose's numbers.

And just moments later Matthews finally made the breakthrough.

Melrose will travel to Millbrae on Saturday, March 23 for the semi-final with Ayr.

Melrose: C Jackson; I Sim, P Anderson, G Wood, M Muelace-Julyan; S Hutchison, M McAndrew; G Shiells, R Anderson, C Young, J Head, A Runciman, R Knott, G Runciman, I Moody. Subs: R Ferguson, C Crookshank, M Wilson, C Wilde, T Klein.