Ayr 17

Melrose 34

David Morrison at Millbrae

MELROSE'S marvellous start to the Premiership campaign continued at Millbrae on Saturday as a dominant first-half performance secured a third straight victory.

For many, defending defending champions Ayr will pose the biggest threat to Rose securing the title.

But it was a dominant display from Rob Christie's team that saw them race into an unassailable advantage before half time.

If there was a sneaky note of concern for Greenyards coach Rob Chrystie, it would be his team's inability to maintain their focus and scoring during the second half.

Chrystie said: "Ayr have got some good players in their squad.

"You’re not champions and then just fall off it, so we didn’t take anything for granted at half-time, and we had to battle it out a bit there in the second half.

"The first 15 minutes were pretty good, I thought, in terms of the way we attacked and the speed we were playing at, but throughout a game the opposition is always going to have moments and they had a few from 50 minutes onwards, so we probably need to look at how we manage that a bit better,"

Melrose began impressively as they opted to kick for the corner in the opening minutes rather than take an easy three points.

The driving line-out allowed hooker Russell Anderson to open the scoring.

Ayr did respond with pressure of their own after a few unforced errors by the visitors.

And Scott Lyle narrowed the advantage with a penalty.

But with ball in hand Melrose looked formidable.

In the 11th minute Sam Pecqueur added to his hat-trick from last week by darting beneath the posts for Rose's second try.

Ross McCann got in on the scoring act quarter of an hour later as he barged through the home defence.

Craig Jackson continued success with the boot gave Melrose an 18 point advantage before the half hour mark.

A further Jackson penalty was followed by McCaan intercepting close to his own line to race the length of the field for the bonus point score.

Ayr did narrow the gap on the stroke of half time as Grant Anderson scrambled over.

Following more Melrose pressure after the break, which saw a further Jackson penalty extend the lead, Ayr began to work their way back into the game.

And they were awarded a penalty try just after the hour.

Melrose prop Ruairi McLeod was also sent to the sin-bin for pulling down the line-bound drive.

Ayr couldn't take advantage of the extra man as Melrose controlled close play well and saw out the game for a valuable victory on the road.

Melrose: F Thomson; R McCann, N Godsmark, C Jackson, S Pecqueur; J Baggott, M McAndrew; G Shiells, R Anderson, R McLeod, A Runcimaan, I Moody, N Irvine-Hess, G Runciman, A Miller. Subs: R Ferguson, C Crookshanks, R Knott, B Colvine, J Johnstone.