Melrose 41

Currie Chieftains 10

Atholl Innes at The Greenyards

MELROSE moved eight points clear in the BT Premiership with a victory on Saturday which could be pivotal to their championship hopes.

Seven tries on an afternoon of enterprising rugby epitomised their high potential as players such as Ross McCann, Gavin Wood, Angus Runciman, Ruari McLeod and Ben Chalmers showed they are well capable of stepping into the 1st XV jersey.

Players coming off the bench in the second half included the experienced Ruaridh Knott and Bruce Colvine, which added to the depth in strength that Melrose has so early in the season.

Five wins, five bonus points, albeit four at home, has put the Borders side in the driving seat and given the players the much-needed confidence to sustain their run ahead of the heavier grounds later in the season.

The victory was awe-inspiring as they outplayed one of their potential challengers for the BT Premiership title with seven tries.

It was a personal triumph for winger McCann, who touched down four times, but it was the dominance of the Melrose pack, not for the first time, that laid the foundation for the success.

“It was the first time I had scored four tries in one game in the Premiership,” he said – but praised the efforts of the team.

“I was just finishing off other people’s hard work. It was a strong performance by everyone in the team and the young boys showed that they are good enough to play at this level, and there is still more to come. We want to build on the momentum.”

This was a huge team effort, and with Chalmers coming off the bench and Currie’s Charlie Shiel, son of ex-Melrose star Graham, at scrum half, one supporter asked: ‘When was the last time we had a Chalmers and a Shiel on the field at the same time?’

Currie coach Ben Cairns expressed his disappointment. “There was a catalogue of errors and there was not a lot that went right,” he said.

Currie were in contention when only 3-10 down at the interval, but a try immediately on the restart from Fraser Thomson kicked off the second-half onslaught, including three tries in only 11 minutes.

McCann, who opened the scoring in six minutes, completed it to add to his touch downs midway through the half with other tries from Neil Irvine Hess in the first half and Thomson and Richard Ferguson after the break – Craig Jackson adding three conversions.

Currie finally tested the hosts with a try by Harvey Elms from Thomas Gordon’s break seven minutes from time, converted by Jamie Forbes, who also kicked a first-half penalty, but it was mere consolation.

Melrose: F. Thomson; R. McCann, N. Godsmark, C. Jackson, G. Wood; J. Baggott, M. McAndrew; G. Shiells, R. Anderson, R. McLeod, J. Head, A. Runciman, I. Moody, N. Irvine Hess, A. Miller. Replacements: R. Ferguson, N. Beavon, R. Knott, B. Colvine, B. Chalmers.