Watsonians 12

Melrose 32

Eilidh Walker at Myreside

MELROSE powered past Watsonians, in a bonus-point thriller under the lights at Myreside on Friday night to extend their unbeaten streak and go 16 points clear at the top of the Premiership table.

With Edinburgh Rugby opting to play at Myreside this season, their match against the Ospreys on Saturday meant that Watsonians had to switch to Friday instead.

Despite their place in the bottom-half of the table Watsons came into the match on the back of a bonus-point away win against Ayr and they dominated possession in the first five minutes of the match.

When Melrose stole back the ball, they headed straight for the try-line but despite their best efforts the ball was lost forward just short and they had to settle for a penalty, duly scored by Craig Jackson for the first points on the scoreboard after 12 minutes.

Now comfortably in their stride, Melrose had their sights set on the try-line and just minutes later Fraser Thomson cruised over for the first score of the match. Jackson missed the conversion, leaving the score at 0-8.

The match proved to be a bruising encounter with Watsons struggling to assert themselves against a typically clinical Melrose pack, and with just over 15 minutes left of the first-half hookers Russell Anderson and Ross Graham were sent to the sin bin as tempers boiled over.

Despite no numerical advantage for Melrose, the tries began to flow in the lead up to half time.

After 28 minutes, Iain Moody crashed over for try number two; Jackson added the extras to extend the visitors lead to 0-15.

Just two minutes later, a break from Melrose’s Neil Irvine-Hess and support from Ally Miller sent Thomson over for his second of the night and third overall.

Jackson missed the conversion but they were in the hunt for a bonus-point try with ten minutes remaining of the first-half.

Winger Sam Pecqueur secured the bonus-point try, thanks to a break from centre Nyle Godsmark, while Jackson missed the conversion.

Melrose went into the break with a commanding 0-25 lead.

The second half saw Watsons retain possession for a 15-minute stretch but they were unable to cross the try-line.

The hosts had to wait until Melrose had a try disallowed before crossing through replacement Nathan Borel, while Andrew Chalmers converted.

Thomson completed his hat trick as he crossed for Melrose’s last try, with Jackson slotting the conversion to lead 7-32.

Watsonians scored a consolation try with the last play of the game through scrum-half Ali Harris to round out the scoring at 12-32.

Melrose Head Coach, Rob Chrystie said: “Our defence in the first half was outstanding.

"We played with a lot of intensity; we had talked about that before the game, as we haven’t produced that in defence over the last couple of weeks.

“Watsonians have got some really good rugby players in their team. Credit to them for the first 15 minutes of the second half we didn’t see the ball.

“I think the boys have done really well over the last 12 games, it’s been a hard 12 weeks and they really deserve a break now.”

Following the international break, Melrose will travel to Boroughmuir on Saturday, December 2 before welcoming Ayr to The Greenyards the following weekend.

Melrose: F Thomson, R McCann, N Godsmark, C Jackson, S Pecqueur, J Baggott, M McAndrew, G Shiells, R Anderson, N Beavon, J Head, I Moody, N Irvine-Hess, G Runciman & A Miller. Subs: R Ferguson, R McLeod, A Runciman, B Colvine & G Taylor.