Hawick came to the Greenyards on a wet, blustery afternoon, which looked as though it would be one of those days where the forwards would undertake most of the work. Fortunately for those huddled in the stand, this was not necessarily the case, as both sets of backs looked to use their close handling skills in tricky conditions.
Melrose played the first half with the wind at their backs, yet despite the advantage, those forty minutes were fairly evenly spaced across the pitch and the half time score was a fair reflection of the close nature of the contest. The scoring was opened on 18 minutes, Scott Lawson continuing to roll back the years, albeit in an unfamiliar number 8 jersey. Hawick had conceded a penalty which was kicked to touch in the Church Corner. From the resulting lineout and rolling maul, the former Scotland man found himself over the ball below a heap of players to claim the try. Struan Hutchison made good the extras for a wind assisted conversion. Ten minutes later, some slick handling from the Hawick threequarters saw Stuart Graham gallop behind the posts for a well worked try. Greg Walker flicked to the impressive Lee Armstrong, who in turn offloaded quickly to Andrew Mitchell, and he completed the scoring pass. Armstrong added the conversion.
Half Time: Melrose 7-Hawick 7
The second half was a game of, well, two halves. Hawick took to the field showing intent and using the conditions to keep Melrose pinned in their own half. A strong home defence held out for 10 minutes before Armstrong put the visitors ahead with a penalty. For the first 25 minutes of the half Melrose were forced to try and run the ball out of defence at every chance as kick attempts were held up by the wind, and Hawick must rue not taking further advantage of this opportunity. Thereafter, the game was dominated by Melrose, as the forwards began to turn the screw in the scrum. Hawick conceded three scrum penalties close to their own line and received a warning from referee Graeme Ormiston. There came a fourth offence however, and a penalty try was awarded to Melrose with ten minutes remaining. Bruce Colvine thought he had forced his way through and scored in the Policeman’s Corner with five to go, but referee and assistant David Changleng disagreed.
With three minutes left on the clock, Nicky Little was yellow carded for the visitors after persistent infringement in the scrum. Melrose took the opportunity to put the game away from the Mansfield men and deny them a losing bonus point, as Patrick Anderson burst through their defence and scored in the Town Corner at the stroke of full time, Struan Hutchison making impressive work of the conversion.
Full Time: Melrose 21-Hawick 10
Melrose: Fraser Thomson, Iain Sim, George Taylor, Gavin Wood, Bruce Colvine, Struan Hutchison, Murdo McAndrew; Grant Shiells, Finlay Scott, Ruari McLeod, James Head, Iain Moody, Neil Irvine-Hess, Rory Darge, Scott Lawson. Subs; Russell Anderson, Conor Young, Grant Runciman, Michael Mvelase-Julyan, Patrick Anderson
Hawick: Ali Weir, Keith Davies, Andrew Mitchell, Greg Walker, Kirk Ford, Lee Armstrong, Deaglan Lightfoot; Shawn Muir, Matt Carryer, Nicky Little, Daniel Suddon, Dalton Redpath, Stuart Graham, Drew Davidson, Bruce McNeil. Subs; Euan Knox, David Lowrie, Gary Lowrie, Keith Young, Sean Kennedy
Referee; Graeme Ormiston, Assistants; David Changleng, Mairi Hay