FIRST and foremost it has to be said that the Melrose
ground staff deserve every credit for getting this game on at all
given the weather conditions over the week.
IT: Andy Forsyth looks for Joe Cobden on the wing at The
Greenyards. PIC: Alison Bowden.
The two sides did those efforts justice, putting together a
compelling afternoon's rugby with little to choose between them
before a late try allowed Nottingham to finally put the game beyond
It brought a 32-20 win for the Green and Whites which still
leaves them third in the Pool 8 table, but just one point behind
But it was the Melrose who started the stronger, and they should
have taken an early lead when winger Sep Visser gathered Bruce
Colvine's chip forward only to knock on as he went over the
Nottingham quickly recovered and took the lead with a Rory Lynn
penalty as the home defence strayed offside.
That score was cancelled out five minutes later though as Andrew
Skeen slotted over a penalty to level the scores.
Joe Helps almost put Melrose in front midway through the first
half, but his penalty effort sailed just wide, but with half time
approaching he made it 6-3 with a second attempt.
Nottingham thought they had regained the initiative as a fine
piece of attacking play saw Ryan Houghtouch down, but play was
brought back for an earlier infringement leaving the Green and
Whites trailing by three points at the break. Hough was brought in
as a late replacement for Rhys Crane who went down with a calf
strain during the warm-up.
Within minutes of the restart though they were back in front as
a huge scrum shoved Melrose off their own ball and opened up space
for Andrew Forsyth to score under the posts, giving Lynn a
And they kept the pressure on to grab a second try as Brent
Wilson forced his way over, Lynn again converting to make it
But they were then reduced to 14 men following a yellow card for
Ryan Bower, and Melrose were soon back to within four points when
Helps raced away before sending Visser in for a try which Skeen
It was then the home side's turn to play shorthanded when Fraser
Thomson was yellow carded, and replacement James Arlidge made them
pay with a penalty before gathering a kick from Alex Lewington and
scoring under the posts, adding the conversion to make it
Melrose hit back with a second from Visser four minutes from
time, again converted by Skeen, to leave them needing a converted
try to draw level.
But as they pressed for that score they turned the ball over and
Lewington broke away for the bonus point try.