Hawick 19

Melrose 3

Atholl Innes

at Mansfield Park

CUP holders Melrose exited the BT Cup at the first time of asking on Saturday at Mansfield Park.

But there was still a brave, battling performance that augurs well for National League 1 campaign.

Melrose lost a try late in the first half of the preliminary round, had a score earlier disallowed because of a field infringement, and despite the advantage of the gale after the break, succumbed to a captain’s try from Shawn Muir.

Rose coach Stuart Johnson said: “We had a young squad against a squad that has been together for a couple of seasons.

“Hawick are a big, physical pack and have a couple of big centres in there as well.

"Our physicality against a big Hawick side was outstanding and we have to be positive about that.

"I did not think the scoreline reflected the game.”

Hawick coach George Graham admitted that they were never going to ‘walk over them’.

He added: “It was a horrible game and our discipline was terrible at times and we gave away too many silly penalties.

"We could not hold the ball long enough and lost our shape so many times.

“We did not play particularly well, but we are still winning and that’s the main thing.”

Hawick took 17 minutes to open the scoring when Stuart Graham, who was shown a yellow card by referee Keith Allen late in the game, was driven over and Ali Weir converted.

David Colvine then cut the deficit with a penalty.

Melrose dug deep, and when Lewis Mallin broke to send Chris Raymond over, it looked a certain score until the referee halted the game, spoke to the touch judge, and disallowed the score and awarded a penalty in front of the stand.

Hawick cashed in in the 44th minute when Matt Carryer was driven over, Weir converted, and the Greens led 14-3 at the break.

And they sealed the tie when Muir crashed over in 54 minutes.

Hawick: A. Weir; R. McKean, A. Mitchell, G. Johnstone, L. G. Wooley; B. Donaldson, G. Welsh; S.Muir, M, Carryer, C. Bachurzewski, D. Suddon, K. McNeil, S. Graham, Bruce McNeil, Billy McNeil. Replacements: C. Renwick, D. Johnstone, J. Rowley, M. Renwick, M. Bannerman.

Melrose: K. Clark; L. Mallin, D. Colvine, T. Klein, J. Brown; Donald Crawford, David Crawford; W. Owen, R. Ferguson, C. Crookshanks, T. Brown, C. Wilde, C. Raymond, T. Andrews, G. Runciman. Replacements: B. McLean, M. Wilson, G. Lindsay, S. Fisher, G. Wood.