Final-quarter display gives Currie coach cause for optimism

Currie's Alistair Hamilton is caught in possession by Melrose players Bruce Colvin and Richard Ferguson. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Currie's Alistair Hamilton is caught in possession by Melrose players Bruce Colvin and Richard Ferguson. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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Currie coach Ben Cairns believes his men can use the positive aspects of Saturday’s disappointing BT Cup exit as a springboard to securing a home BT Premiership play-off.

Cairns was annoyed by the shortcomings of his side for much of the tie which they lost 25-21 against an impressive Melrose outfit. However, he saw reasons for optimism in a spirited final quarter that he wants to see repeated in Saturday’s league encounter at home to Gala.

“We are obviously frustrated, mostly at our own performance and not being able to hold the ball well enough, especially in the first half after a really good start,” said Cairns, who nevertheless praised his players for the way they chased the game in a tense finale.

“The way we finished the game was a massive positive. The way we were smashing things and that never-say-die attitude was credit to the boys. That attitude is what we need to start every game with as opposed to finishing with it.”

Currie raced from the blocks and within three minutes Stephen Ainslie had sent Harvey Elms scampering in at the corner for a try which James Semple converted. But, by half-time, Melrose led 22-7 through a penalty try and touchdowns from Fraser Thomson and Neil Irvine-Hess, plus two conversions and a penalty by Joe Helps.

Ross Weston, who had come off the bench at half-time, powered over for a try, converted by Semple, early in the second half to reduce the leeway and although Helps banged over another penalty, the best handling move of the game sent Chris Logan in wide on the left for a Currie try five minutes from the end of a high quality encounter.

Semple again added the extras to leave the hosts needing one more touchdown for victory.

However, although they dominated possession, they were unable to breach the Borderers’ defence for a fourth time and bowed out of the competition.

Elsewhere, Heriot’s progressed to the last four with a 74-18 win over Cartha Queens Park at Goldenacre. Despite falling behind to an early penalty, the hosts ensured there was no repeat of the scare they experienced in the previous round as Max Learmonth dotted down for the first of his side’s 12 tries and Jack Turley rounded off the first half with the sixth for a 36-6 interval lead. And the touchdowns kept coming in the second period, with the home side crossing the whitewash a further six times to complete a successful afternoon that means they remain in the hunt for a league and cup double.

Boroughmuir’s BT Premiership fixture away to Hawick was switched to Gala’s Netherdale ground because of ongoing problems with the playing surface at Mansfield Park. The Capital side concluded their campaign on a positive note with a 40-12 win that has moved the Meggetland men into fifth place in the league. Muir touched down six times as coach Bruce Aitchison ended his tenure in style. A try apiece by Ross Bradford, Cal Davies, Iain Moody and Mark Hare were all converted by Chris Laidlaw, as the Capital side established a 28-0 lead at the break, and, although Hawick scored twice, Rob Cairns completed the job when he responded for Muir with a double.

Scott McKean was the star man with a hat-trick of tries for BT National Division One pacesetters Watsonians as they took another step towards the title with a 60-13 win over Aberdeen Grammar at Myreside. With three games to play, Sonians now have a ten-point lead over Marr, who have a game in hand.

Edinburgh Accies turned on the style in a 57-14 win at home to Kelso, but Musselburgh suffered a 50-12 loss away to Dundee High.

Preston Lodge remain firmly on track for a top-five finish in Division Two after producing the latest in a run of fine performances to take all five points from a 48-12 win over Greenock Wanderers. While long-time leaders Hamilton Bulls were celebrating after they clinched promotion, Lasswade became more deeply embroiled in the relegation battle after going down 37-17 at Kirkcaldy.

RHC Cougars took a significant step towards securing survival in Division Three when they saw off Perthshire 41-33 at Barnton, while Livingston were on the wrong end of a 31-0 score on their trip to meet Dumfries Saints – a result that has damaged the promotion bid of Haddington, who had no game.