PLASTIC is fantastic, according to Melrose rugby fans at the weekend.

The new Greenyards 3G pitch was officially opened on Saturday ahead of the first senior competitive match being played on the new surface.

And the large crowd were treated to Melrose racing to a convincing 31-19 victory in their National League One match against Stirling Wolves.

Saturday's celebration was also an opportunity for backers of the developments at the home of rugby sevens to showcase the community benefits from the £1 million pitch.

Following the opening ceremony, carried out by Melrose legend Doddie Weir and local authority convenor David Parker, no fewer than four matches took place, ranging from the Super Six Southern Knights training game all the way down to the Girls Under 12s hosting North Berwick.

Doddie told us: "It’s an honour to be involved in such a big day for the club.

"Melrose RFC gave me the platform to be the player I became.

"The values I learned here made it possible for me to go on and enjoy the success I had with Scotland, Newcastle and the Lions in South Africa.

"Wherever I go in the world, rugby folk know about Melrose, the setting of this beautiful pitch and the role it has played in the development of Sevens and some of the finest players to play the game."

The 3G project has been led by Melrose Rugby and Scottish Borders Council, with support from Scottish Rugby and charity Live Borders. As well as the new playing surface, the project included new floodlighting and a spectator walkway.

Councillor Parker, who was heavily involved in negotiations to secure the new 3G pitch at Melrose, told us: “This is a fantastic day for Melrose and the surrounding area and we thank all our partners for making this project a reality.

“The Greenyards pitch is owned by the Ormiston Trust, whose sole aim is to make sure that it provides important community facilities for all and the new 3G community sports pitch will certainly do that."

As well as allowing for more participation in both football and rugby, it is hoped the developments will springboard the ground for consideration in hosting the Rugby Sevens World Cup in 2033.

The 3G pitch has also allowed officials at Melrose to extend their annual Sevens tournament over four days from next year.

Councillor Parker added: "We are excited about their plans for the Sevens tournament next year and will fully support its bid to host the Sevens World Cup, which, if successful, would be a game-changer for sport in our area.”

The Greenyards will host the first Super Six match this Saturday when Watsonians arrive to face Melrose's Southern Knights.

Gordon Brown, chairman of Melrose, added: "Melrose Rugby is delighted with the opening of the new 3G pitch.

“This has been a long-standing ambition of the club since the launch of our Legacy project in 2017.

"The new 3G pitch with floodlights will allow the club to continue competing at the highest level as well as being an incredible asset that will enable other sporting activities and events.

“The club would like to thank all its support partners involved in this inclusive community-focused project.

"It will mark an exciting new chapter for us as we open our doors to other sports clubs in Melrose and the surrounding area.”