Hawick Force v Melrose Storm
Champions Melrose Storm with a squad of 26 players including seasoned 1st team campaigners David Lowrie and Bruce Campbell with prop Shawn Muir also making his comeback from a 6 month injury layoff from the bench
The game started at a frantic pace but was delayed for around 15minutes due to a serious leg injury suffered by the talented youngster Jae Linton. Once the game resumed the young Force pack found themselves under pressure in the scrums but fronted up well again in defence and the first score of the half came in the 39th minute when Melrose worked the ball wide to score in the corner but the conversion was missed and the referee blew for half time.
2nd half resulted in a raft of changes for the force and the young teris soon upped their game and the scrum became stable while the forwards were also securing their own lineout ball without much trouble, When Shawn Muir lined up the Melrose stand off and knocked him half way up Mansfield Road with a textbook hit in midfield this kicked the force into gear and following some great forwards play Muir was able to get himself over the line from close range to touch down next to the posts and Dean McCracken added the extras. Melrose then scored 2 tries of their own to make the score 7-19 with 20minutes to go, fair play to the young Robbie Dyes they stuck in and got on the scoreboard again when Muir got his second try of the game following more good work by the force forwards he was somehow able to take 2 or 3 Melrose defenders over the line with him. David Lowrie missed the conversion. Andrew Baillie was yellow carded with 5 minutes left for repeated ruck infringements as the game played out with no further scored to finish Force 12-19 Storm.
Euan Knox was again in impressive form in the front row along with Gareth Welsh who moved to stand off after Dean McCracken was injured. Special Mention is reserved for back row Robbie McLean who had to play most of the game in the centre and never missed a tackle and carried just as hard.
Shawn Muir after the game said:-
"it felt good to get back out there for the first time in 6 months, the boys stuck in well against a good side and have made massive improvements in a short space of time"
"The Force have a great setup this season with top coaches in Dean, Graeme and The Force returned home to Mansfield Park last Friday night to face last seasons unbeaten reserve league 1 Jungle. These young boys are in the right place to learn and improve while also enjoying their rugby that is the most important thing"