The 49-0 scoreline suggests a one-way romp for Melrose in this Booker Border League encounter from Pool A, but by half-time four handling errors by Selkirk gave their opponents four tries to put them into a commanding 24-0 lead at the break with the strong wind giving the home side an advantage, enjoying the lion’s share of territory. To their credit the Souters tried to run everything out of their own 22, and by and large, did it well, except for the errors which saw their unbeaten opponents pounce on. Ross McCann, George Taylor (pictured here by Douglas Hardie), Jason Baggott and Gavin Wood all scored tries to wrap up the bonus point by the break, with Craig Jackson adding two conversions in the difficult kicking conditions.
Melrose rested many of their big guns, but such is their strength in depth, that the likes of youngsters Rory Darge, Ruairi Campbell, Thomas Klein and Struan Hutchison didn’t look out of place at all stepping up to wear the first team jersey – in fact they wore two jerseys! After the break it was clear that an all black strip against an all navy blue outfit was a bit too much of a colour clash, so the home team changed to yellow tops for the second period. After the break Melrose ran in five tries through Thomas Klein, Gavin Wood, George Taylor, Struan Hutchison and (inevitably) Russell Anderson, who was the only forward on the day to get on the scoresheet.
Selkirk themselves were fielding a lot of youngsters new to this level, and they were by no means disgraced. The scoreline certainly didn’t tell the whole story. Selkirk were very competitive for most of the game and not once did any heads go down. But this was again a good day for the Black and Yellows who have played 15 competitive matches this season and scored try bonuses in every one, which is amazing. They need just one point against Kelso to take their place in this year’s final at Langholm, but would need to make sure they aren’t beaten by 55 points in the process. A Kelso bonus-point win without Melrose scoring more than three tries and finishing within 7 points would put Kelso through. The winner of Pool A will play either Jedforest or Hawick, who will do battle on Boxing Day. For Melrose they have a quick turn round to face Gala at home to try and get the Waverley Cup back from the Maroons. You can watch all nine Melrose tries here.