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Melrose v Highland, Saturday 16 November 2019

A drizzly wet afternoon welcomed the visitors, Highland RFC, to the Greenyards for the first time in 40 years for this Tennent’s National 1 clash. Donald Crawford opened the scoring with a penalty after two minutes, but, despite a lot of huffing and puffing from both teams, there was nothing, even a missed penalty, at 31 minutes, by Scott Fraser, to trouble the score-keeper almost until the interval. Within a minute of the break Tom Smith was sin-binned for a high tackle and from the resultant penalty Melrose kicked the ball to touch in the Polceman’s Corner. The rolling maul complete Donald Crawford chipped the ball through the Highland defence for Gary McWilliam to pick up and dive over at the posts for a try converted by Donald Crawford.

Half time – Melrose 10 Highland 0.

Donald Crawford was wide with a penalty within a minute of the second half starting, but with Melrose attacking, three minutes later, the ball was passed right, left, then right again across the pitch before Trystan Andrews crashed over to the left of the posts with Donald Crawford converting. At 49 minutes Melrose attacked down the stand side with a grand off-load from prop Jack Dobie allowing McWilliam his second touch-down, this time in St. Mary’s Corner, with Donald Crawford adding the extras. The Melrose bonus point try came five minutes later. James Brown broke out of defence within the Melrose 22 and scorched down the far side being caught just short of the line. From the resultant ruck Keiran Clark picked up and dived over in the Church Corner with Donald Crawford converting from the touch-line. From a defensive scrum 5, eight minutes later, Melrose were shoved off their own ball with Mike Gordon diving into the Town Corner for a try converted by Rupeni Rokoduguni. With six minutes remaining Callum Carson took a quick tap penalty 5m out passing to Smith whose try was as quickly drop kick converted by a player whose number was not visible and thus the scoring ended. To-day’s “Player of the Match” provided by “The Borders Distillery” was awarded jointly to Ben McLean and Ethan McVicker.

Melrose 31 Highland 14.

Melrose – Keiran Clark, Ethan McVicker, Gary McWilliam, Christiaan Smit, James Brown, Donald Crawford, Douglas Crawford, Jake Fairley, Richard Ferguson, Jack Dobie, Thomas Brown, Gregor Lindsay, Ben McLean, Grant Runciman, Trystan Andrews. Replacements – Sean Fisher, Ethan Deakin, Callum Folan, Elliot Ruthven, Lewis Mallin.

Highland – Iain Chisholm, Stephen Rutledge, Rupeni Rokoduguni, Seamus Ross, Mike Gordon, Scott Fraser, Hugo CRUSH, Stephen Murray, Kevin Brown, Lewis Sinclair, Sean Blair, Tom Smith, Callum Carson, Gordon Grigor, Oscar Baird. Replacements – Jonny Milton, Murdo Paterson, Liam Quinn, Ruaridh Macdonald, Connor Ross.

Referee – John Shaw.

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