Biggar 55

Melrose 12

By Al Stewart

at Hartree Mill

MELROSE suffered their first defeat of the season at the weekend.

And it meant they were replaced at the top of the table by their opponents, Biggar.

Rose did have a number of injury concerns going into the game and were forced to field a young side.

And the home side managed to take advantage, with a good performance in front of a 500-strong crowd.

Biggar suffered a blow as Ross Bradford picked up a hamstring injury early on.

But their cause was then helped when Melrose’s Thomas Brown was shown a yellow after referee Sam O’Neill adjudged that the lock had illegally collapsed a Biggar driving maul.

The South Lanarkshire side took immediate and full advantage of the extra man to score a pushover try, with No8 Ross Jackson credited with the touchdown. Andrew Jardine missed the conversion.

And his second kick was also unsuccessful after Chris Mulligan crashed over on the 10-minute mark.

But he soon made up for it.

He anticipated well to collect a Melrose pass and burst forward to score under the posts. He then converted for 17-0 lead.

Winger Rowan Stewart managed to run in the fourth try which was converted by Jardine.

But with 10 minutes to go in the first half, Melrose got on the scoresheet.

Scrum half Douglas Crawford exploited a gap on the blindside of a ruck close to the Biggar line to nip around the cover. This was converted by Donald Crawford.

Biggar prepared for a Melrose onslaught at the opening of the second half.

And while the visitors opened well, and were given a boost when Rory Hutton was shown a yellow in the early exchanges, there was not the required firepower or drive to upset the home side.

With the match approaching the end of the third quarter Biggar then produced a hammer blow of two tries scored within two minutes of each other – putting the match beyond any doubt.

The first saw Craig Borthwick crash over from close range for a try which Jardine converted.

The second was by Rowan Stewart who went over in the corner, however Jardine was off target with his conversion attempt.

Euan Stewart also made the scoresheet with an unconverted try, while Robbie Orr also managed to go over for two following good link-up play with Hutton.

Conor Lavery added the extras to complete Biggar's scoring.

The home side did suffer a minor setback when Andrew Peacock was yellow carded for foul play at a ruck.

And Melrose centre Connor Spence was able to exploit for a deserved score.

Crawford’s conversion was pushed wide and although there was time for the restart the next stoppage ended the contest.

Biggar: R Orr, R Stewart, R Hutton, A Jardine, R Bradford, C Lavery, L Kutze, D Voas, C Mulligan, R Basset, C Borthwick, J Campbell, L Stewart, J Orr, R Jackson. Reps: E Stewart, P Davidson, A Peacock, R Lavery, M Bertram.

Melrose: G McWilliam, L Mallin, D King, C Spence, J Brown, Donald Crawford, Douglas Crawford, G Runciman, E Deakin, B McLean, G Lindsay, T Brown, S Fisher, R Ferguson, J Fairley. Reps: L Kirk, C Russell, C Folan, R Lile, K Clark