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Rugby Union: Sad Scott bows out in defeat; MELROSE 37 WATSONIANS 13.

TEST legend Scott Hastings fought back tears yesterday as he bade farewell to top-flight rugby.

Scotland's most-capped player had hoped to finish his Watsonians career on a high, but Melrose put a slight damper on the party with a well-merited success at the Greenyards.

Despite the outcome, it was Hastings' day - and after being presented with a memento of the occasion by the home club, he admitted: "I have mixed emotions about the whole thing.

"I have had a fabulous career, especially my 67 appearances for Scotland and my Lions involvement, but I am really looking forward to spending my weekends with the family now."

Sonians started in positive fashion and broke the deadlock after just three minutes when full-back Andrew Wilson slotted a straightforward penalty.

The home side battled back to mount a series of attacks and surged ahead after 15 minutes.

Scotland Under-21 stand-off Calum MacRae set up a line-out on the 22-line with a well-judged kick.

Melrose's jumpers took it cleanly and there was no stopping prop Kevin Allan as he ploughed over for the touchdown at the end of a spate of pick-ups and drives by the pack.

Watsons kept in the picture with another penalty from Wilson - but it was the Borderers who seized control before the break thanks to a try by player-coach Gary Parker.

Richard Griffith and Robbie Chrystie did the early spadework before Wayne Mitchell and Del Bain combined to send Parker strolling in for one of the easiest scores of his career.

MacCrae slotted the extra points - then banged over a penalty to open up a gap of nine points at the break.

Melrose kept up the momentum and effectively snuffed out the challenge of Hastings and Co within 15 minutes of the restart.

First, Steven Laurie dashed over after a slick handling move, then hooker Mitchell - who will be on the bench for Edinburgh Reivers against Glasgow Caley Reds at Inverness today - burrowed through as the Sonians defence buckled.

The impressive Mitchell then completed his double, with Parker converting - but Watsons responded with spirit to show they weren't completely out of it.

Wilson continued his good run with a try which he goaled himself, but Parker had the last word for Rose.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Kelso, David
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 26, 2000
Words:372
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