BT Cup Quarter-Final



MARR Rugby’s 1st XV delivered a much-improved performance against league leaders and cup holders Melrose and will take confidence from this as they now start planning for the final two league matches.

Melrose once again showed why they are defending champions with a composed performance that saw they enjoy the majority of possession and territory.

However unlike last week they also found Marr’s defence was up for the challenge and space and opportunity to score tries wasn’t readily available.

Many thanks go to Robert Macpherson of Macpherson Lawn Turf, Robert Clark and Anthony Peters for their work in getting the pitch ready for this tie.

Melrose’s solid performance in difficult conditions secured back to back wins at Fullarton against Marr, this time with success in the BT Cup that takes them into the last four as they seek to defend the trophy. Marr’s day wasn’t perfect as Neil Wallace was given an emergency call up from the 2s when Fraser Watt was deemed unfit through illness. Fraser Ferguson.

The cup tie wasn’t a reprise of the easy run of last week’s league encounter as Marr provided a much sterner test. Marr breached the yellow wall on two occasions and in defence they emulated Melrose and clearly showed they had learned from the previous encounter.

Nevertheless Melrose were comfortable winners, scoring three tries and one penalty. It was another composed and mature performance where the side enjoyed great swathes of possession and territory and executed scoring moves as and when the opportunity presented. Marr provided a greater challenge but Melrose’s players were more than capable of coping with what was tried. Fraser Thomson showed the way for Melrose in defence and more often than not he was in the forefront of stymieing Marr’s attacks.

It took 15 minutes for Melrose to score. A Marr mistake provided a penalty that was kicked to the corner. From the lineout Melrose tried close range pick and go’s before Russel Andrew tried to spread the ball wide. The catch was missed but Melrose’s Jason Baggot reacted quickest as the ball spilled into open space. From close range he spun out of the first tackle to twist and turn and score a try converted by Craig Jackson.

During the following 20 minutes Melrose enjoyed good possession and territory but Marr’s defence was unyielding. In 35 minutes , Melrose launched another penalty kick to take play into touch close to Marr’s line. In a textbook catch and drive Melrose’s pack drove over the try line but was illegally prevented from scoring. Referee Mike Adamson had no qualms in awarding a penalty try and sending Marr’s skipper Angus Johnston to the sin-bin.

To their credit Marr weren’t going to lie down and quickly they struck back. Marr’s forwards were actively involved in getting things going. Fraser Ferguson was impressive as he made his Premiership debut while Ross Miller was his usual nuisance with several testing breaks.

Just before half-time Ferguson’s midfield break made the hard yards which Ross Miller built upon. As Marr spread the ball wide they spotted a gap and made the most of this as Toby Buchanan and Scott Bickerstaff combined well to create an overlap which Scott ran into the corner.

Five minutes into the second half Melrose struck again with a try from James Head converted by Jason Baggot.

With five minutes remaining a converted penalty ended the Melrose scoring.

Marr got the last score with a consolation try that involved some nifty interplay between Ross Miller, Angus Johnston and Grant Baird that released Greg Jackson into space and he raced in from 30 metres.

It was a blood and guts affair and the physical battle left some casualties for Marr, who will now assess how quickly players will recover before Saturday's critical visit to Currie.

Meanwhile at Hawick, in the top of the table clash, Marr Rugby’s 2nd XV fought back from a 12-8 deficit at half time to gain a single point lead, only to lose this as the match drew to a close and the home side converted a penalty kick to win 21-19.

Finally the 3rd XV came out top in a very physical battle against Ardrossan Accies 2nd XV. The 24-7 win win lifts Marr into second.