Melrose Wasps 26
Hawick Wanderers 32
Melrose Wasps away, on Annay Road, is a daunting prospect for any team, and with the hosts at full strength, the Volunteer Park boys would have to dig deep for any sort of result. On the day, they stood tall and met fire with fire in what was one of the most entertaining and keenly-contested games of the season.
The first score came after 14 minutes, a Wands penalty giving Dean Gillan the opportunity find touch on the Wasps 22. From the lineout, the forwards drove repeatedly before Fraser Renwick took up the ball two metres out and he dived in low and hard from the base for the score. Gillan slotted well for the extras.
Melrose hit back on 18 minutes, winning a Wands lineout inside the Hawick 22, and a couple of simple passes inside saw their centre break through the Wanderers line to score under the posts. The conversion brought the match level at 7-7.
Wanderers edged in front again from a stolen ball at the lineout. Daniel Suddon driving Hawick deep into the Wasps half before Dalton Redpath took up play and broke the Melrose line before diving in left of the posts. Dean Gillan again slotted the conversion, 7-14 Wanderers.
Before half-time, Wands crossed the whitewash again, Logan Gordon-Woolley finishing off in the corner after more great work by the pack.Renwick was immense in midfield as he flew into the tackle , stripping the ball before feeding his pack and they drove hard and fast at Wasps. As Wanderers neared the ten-metre line the ball was fed out wide to Gordon-Woolley who had the pace then the vision to go low as he was closed down by two Melrose defenders. Gillan was short from the touchline but Wanderers went in at half-time with a seven points to 19 cushion.
From the restart, Melrose were penalised and Gillan added the three from the kick. On 39 minutes, Wasps won good possession from a Wands lineout and spread the ball quickly along the line to go over right of the posts. The score was well converted and the young Teries’ lead had been cut to 14-22.
After some sustained Wands pressure on 48 minutes, Reece Hartdegen went over in the corner, finishing off great play by the Hawick forwards. Gillan was again a little short with his conversion. Wasps responded well on the 55-minute mark, taking play down the far side to score in the corner. The conversion was well wide (19-27).
Just after the hour, Matthew Mallin set off on a blistering break from deep inside his own half to the Wasps 22, where support was on hand from Darcy Graham, after which the ball was spread across field to Joseph Chipakupaku who sprinted up the touchline before flying over in the corner. Gillan saw his conversion fly well off in the wind (19-32).
With two minutes of the game remaining, Wasps went in under the posts after some very determined play.
A quick drop goal from the hosts and it was into the final phase 26-32 in favour of Wanderers.
Gillan brought an end to the match, kicking the ball dead following a Wasps infringement.