Stewart's-Melville ..8

Merchiston Castle ..3

Stewart's-Melville became this season's Bank of Scotland Schools Cup winners by defeating the defending champions, Merchiston, at Meggetland yesterday.

It was an intense match between the two outstanding school sides this season and one which was characterised by the quality of tackling from both teams.

''I thought that we had slightly more physical presence up front which allowed us to play a better driving game'' said Chris Spence the Stewart's-Melville coach.

All of the Stewart's-Melville points were scored by their stand-off Nicky Wood, whose line kicking, powerful running and astute distribution contributed immensely to his side's win.

His opposite number Phil Godman, who is the current Scottish Schools stand-off and who will be available next season, was equally impressive and it seemed that his ability to attack from any position on the field might have won the day for Merchiston.

It was Godman who gave Merchiston the lead with a penalty goal in 13 minutes but just before half time Wood, after missing two earlier attempts at goal, squared matters with a successful kick.

A dynamic start to the second half gave Stewart's-Melville what proved to be their winning points. No.8 Douglas Rycroft was stopped on the line by a telling tackle from the Merchiston left wing Paul Godman, but when the ball was recycled Wood had the strength to crash over for the game's only try.

There is doubt as to whether the Schools Cup will continue. Yesterday's final would surely have strengthened the case for any stay of execution.

Stewart's-Melville - S Samson; A Lawson, M Dey, D Wright, B Whiting; N Wood, J Blackwood; S Rowan, A Kelly, S Phillips, S Clark, P Keith, R Niven, D Rycroft, G Hoare.

Merchiston - A Lunn; R Crichton, T Albassam, B Yellowlees, Paul Godman; Philip Godman, C Bain; W Scott (captain), M Targowski, J Hardie, G Smith, M Rennie, R Aitchison R Halliday, D Barry.