Hawick 15-31 Melrose

Joe Helps was a key man for Melrose
Joe Helps was a key man for Melrose
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Melrose left it late to complete a bonus-point win against a battling Hawick side in the Premiership opener at Mansfield Park.

Melrose took the lead with a Joe Helps penalty then a break by Fraser Thomson set up the opening try for Sam Pecquer, Helps adding the conversion.

Neil Renwick landed a penalty for the hosts before Ally Miller found a gap and Helps converted for a 17-3 Melrose lead.

Seven minutes from the interval, Melrose were reduced to 14 men when Graeme Dodds was yellow-carded. And both teams were short-handed after the break when Hawick player-coach Nikki Walker was sent to the sin-bin.

When Dodds came back on the field, Helps scored under the posts and added the conversion.

Hawick then started to cut the 3-24 deficit. New South African Wiann Griebenhow crashed over in the corner with half an hour to go. Four minutes later, Craig Russell went over in the same place and Renwick converted.

The visitors’ defence dug deep, though, and a Nyle Godsmark try sealed the win in injury time, with Jason Baggott converting.