ROUND TWO of the Kings of the 7s series saw Edinburgh clubs teaching their Borders counterparts a lesson or two on a cold, damp afternoon at Netherdale. Gala, Hawick, Kelso and Selkirk all fell by the wayside as Edinburgh Accies, Watsonians and Boroughmuir dominated, accompanied by surprise-package St Andrews University.
Ultimately, Accies lifted the cup for the first time since the tournament’s inception in 1884 after defeating Watsonians 21-10 in the final to gain revenge for defeat by the same team in the same final two years ago. Only Melrose, Kings holders, offered any stern Borders resistance.
Jed-Forest – usually a super-poor on the sevens circuit – saw their 15-a-side commitments in National One as a priority. Musselburgh and Heriot’s also called off, which was disappointing for the hosts given the financial importance of these tournaments to Border clubs in light of dwindling crowds at league matches. Perhaps the new league structure will see fortunes change next season.
It was a true team effort from the Raeburn Place men, led by former Melrose player Richard Mill, whose goal-kicking and final clinching try ensured that Accies bounced back after a tough league season to set the tone for the rest of the Ned Haig Kings of the 7s series (as it is now known). They now sit joint top of the series table on 13 points, alongside Melrose, who were winners at Peebles in round one back in August.
Accies led 14-10 at the break in the final, thanks to tries from Ruairi Campbell and Max Love, both converted by Mill, against tries from Lewis Berg and Scott McKean. They then really turned on the style in the second half with their ball retention and extra pace leaving Watsonians out of ideas, and a further score from Mill, who added the conversion, sealed a successful day.
Accies had earlier accounted for Gala and Edinburgh University in the pool phase, and Boroughmuir at the semi-final stage; while Watsonians saw off the challenge of a Select VII and Hawick, before coming out on top against St Andrews University in the last four.
The third of the 10 tournaments in the series is at Melrose next Saturday.
Pool 1: Watsonians 69, President’s V11 0; Hawick 57, President’s V11 0; Hawick 10, Watsonians 31.
Pool 2: Borders Select 5, Selkirk 45; Selkirk 12, St Andrews University 19; St Andrews University 29, Borders Select 0.
Pool 3: Melrose 43, Kelso 0; Kelso 0, Boroughmuir 52; Boroughmuir 19, Melrose 12.
Pool 4: Edinburgh Accies 42, Gala 7; Edinburgh Accies 28, Edinburgh University 0; Gala 19, Edinburgh University 24.
Semi-finals: Watsonians 24, St Andrews University 0; Boroughmuir 12, Edinburgh Accies 19
Final: Watsonians 10, Edinburgh Accies 21.
Watsonians: C. Scott, L. Miller, L Berg, E. Fox, A. Skeen, R. Steele, S. McKean, M. Bertram, C. Bell, L. Macpherson.
Edinburgh Accies: R. Chalmers, N. Armstrong, R. Kent, R. Campbell, R. Seydak, M. Badenhorst, J. Sole, W. Stephen, M. Love, R. Mill.