Currie 24 
Melrose 15

By Eilidh Walker
at Malleny Park

LEAGUE leaders Melrose suffered a second straight defeat in the Premiership when they took on second-place Currie at Malleny Park on Saturday.

Currie, bolstered by pro-players Ritchie Vernon, Luke Crosbie and Adam Hastings, secured a bonus-point win as the visitors let through four tries in a tight game.

Having lost their first game of the season against Ayr, the previous weekend, Melrose had a point to prove but Currie made it clear they would not be intimidated by Melrose's dominant form thus far in the season.

Full-back Hastings crossed the line after just three minutes of play, as the Currie backline swung into action to send him storming through, as Melrose scrambled to defend their line. 

Jamie Forbes kicked the conversion to give the hosts an early 7-0 lead.

Not to be outdone in the battle of the backs, the visitors replied just five minutes later, when Nyle Godsmark sent Craig Jackson flying over the line for their first try of the game. Jackson was unable to convert his own try, 7-5.

The momentum was with Melrose for much of the first-half and a promising break from Iain Moody and Neil Irvine-Hess, in his first game back after injury, saw them storm towards the line but the ball was lost forward just short.

With ten minutes left of the first-half, the Melrose pack mauled the ball across the line in the hands of prop Grant Shiells. Jackson cleared the conversion to go ahead 7-12.

Currie were determined to reply before half-time and after back-row Crosbie narrowly missed out on a score, scrum-half Charlie Shiel darted through the Melrose defence to level the try count, while Forbes’ successful conversion took Currie ahead 14-12, going into the break.

The second-half started in the same vein as the first had with Currie notching up another try, through a largely solo effort from Hastings, within the first five minutes.

Melrose piled on the pressure but had to settle for a penalty, scored through Jackson which kept them in reach at 19-15.

Hastings again set up a clear opportunity for the Edinburgh side as he kicked into space but winger Gavin Wood was there to thwart the threat for Melrose.

With just eight minutes left of the game, Ritchie Vernon scored the fourth try for Currie to secure the bonus point and, despite Forbes missing the conversion, pushed Melrose out of reach at 24-15.

Melrose continued to push as the clock ticked down, Ross McCann led a significant charge with Iain Moody and Angus Runciman but the momentum was lost as play was stopped due to an injury.

Jackson lined-up a penalty in the final-minute to secure a losing bonus point for Melrose but after the ball bounced off the post and Currie kicked the ball out, French referee Julien Castaignede brought the game to an end.

Melrose Head Coach, Rob Chrystie said: "Currie played well, there wasn’t much in the game. Adam Hastings had a few good moments and I think we switched off a few times. Currie stayed really focused for the full 80-minutes and got over the line, so full credit to them.

“We’ll be better for games like this. It was tight but our game management wasn’t the best at times.

“I think we were better this week than we were last week, but we need to get back grafting again and working hard."

Despite the loss, Melrose still sit 11 points clear at the top of the Premiership table. They will next face Stirling County at The Greenyards on Saturday.

Melrose: C Jackson, G Wood, N Godsmark, G Taylor, R McCann, J Baggott, B Colvine, I Moody, G Runciman (c), N Irvine-Hess, R Knott, A Runciman, N Beavon, R Anderson, G Shiels Reps: A Lockington, M McAndrew, A Grieve, R McLeod, R Ferguson