Hawick Sevens: Kelso consolidate Kings of the Sevens lead with Mansfield triumph

Gala are well beaten in final at Mansfield Park

Kelso defeated Gala in the final at Hawick Sevens. Image: Rob Gray
Kelso defeated Gala in the final at Hawick Sevens. Image: Rob Gray

ALAN LORIMER @ Mansfield Park

KELSO consolidated their lead in the Kings of the Sevens competition by winning the Hawick tournament after defeating an impressive Gala side in a final that underlined the Poynder Park side’s skills in the abbreviated rugby code. 

This was Kelso’s third win in the series following their victories at the start of the season at Peebles and Gala, and on this form they are looking favourites to lift the Kings title. At Mansfield Park, Kelso, utilising the depth of pace throughout the team, had too much sevens nous for Gala to combat, and in the end it was a comparatively comfortable 26-10 win for the Kings leaders.

Kelso’s display in the final did much to light up a Hawick tournament that has struggled to capture the imagination of the public in recent seasons, largely as a result of Hawick’s involvement in the 15s rugby at this stage in the season.

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Watching, but, not taking the field was Kelso’s player/coach Bruce McNeil, who was clearly impressed with his team’s effort in defeating Gala in the final. “I think we saved the best until last. We were a bit hot and cold in some of the ties,” he offered, adding: “I thought the boys were phenomenal in the final. Their work-rate was superb.”

Hawick had opted for a four pools of three format, which generally worked well and which, of course,  guaranteed each participating team a minimum of two matches, making the trip to Mansfield Park worthwhile.

It did produce a bizarre finish to Pool D that contained the eventual winners Kelso, along with Heriot’s and Berwick. Kelso, slow to warm up, trailed 0-19 against Heriot’s in the first tie of the pool, but recovered to draw 19-19 with the Goldenacre men.  The rules of the tournament decreed that, in the event of a tied game, the pool winners would be decided on points difference.

In the event Kelso rattled up 68 points against Berwick, meaning that Heriot’s had to exceed that total to finish group winners. The clock however defeated the Goldenacre men who had reached 61-0 when the final whistle was blown, leaving Kelso to contest the second of the semi-finals against Edinburgh Accies.

Meanwhile, in the first of the semi finals, Melrose faced Gala in a match that produced a close game between the two neighbouring Borders clubs. Two tries by Gregor Collins to one by Donald Crawford gave Gala a 14-5 interval advantage. The scoreline was extended to 21-5 with a converted try by Ben Gill. Two late tries by Harry Makowski and the experienced Bruce Colvine showed Melrose at their best but it was not enough to row in Gala.

Then, in the second of the semi-finals, Kelso led 17-0 at half time with tries by Robbie Tweedie and Archie Barbour (2), but a second half fightback by Accies with tries by Reuben Walsh, Harvey Cameron-Barr and Jarrod Benstead, all converted by Richard Mill, put the Raeburn Place side into a 21-17 lead with just a minute remaining on the clock. But in a final attack, Kelso struck decisively with a try by Dwain Patterson to book their place in the final.

In the final, Kelso produced their best rugby to lead 12-5 at the break, despite losing Patterson to the sin-bin,  with two tries by Tweedie. Patterson then extended his side’s lead to 19-5 with a try and conversion. Gala who had scored a first half try by Scott Peffer added a second half touchdown from Ben Gill but it was left to Kelso to have the final say with a try by Andy Tait for a 26-10 win.

Results –

  • Group A: Jed-Forest 25 Boroughmuir 14, Melrose 40 Boroughmuir 0, Jed-Forest 14 Melrose 17.
  • Group B: Watsonians 5 Selkirk 44, Gala 28 Watsonians 14, Selkirk 12 Gala 19
  • Group C: Hawick 5 Edinburgh Accies 29, Peebles 26 Hawick 24, Edinburgh Accies 33 Peebles 21
  • Group D: Kelso 19 Heriot’s 19, Berwick 0 Kelso 68, Heriot’s 61 Berwick 0.
  • Semi-finals: Melrose 15 Gala 21, Edinburgh Accies 21 Kelso 22
  • Final: Gala 10  Kelso 26
    • Teams –
    • Gala: R Irvine, L Scott, G McCrum, C Pate, S Peffers, B Gill, R Mitchell, G Collins, L Johnston, R Kerr, J Niven, B Simmonds
    • Kelso: M Woodcock, A Tait, F Robson, N Stingl, A Barbour, R Tweedie, M McGregor, D Patterson, J Thompson, A Roberts, C Thompson
    • Referee: Calum Wehmeyer

Kings of the Sevens points position (after four rounds) –

  • 1st – Kelso … 30pts
  • 2nd – Selkirk … 16pts
  • 3rd – Gala … 14pts
  • 4th – Peebles … 9pts
  • 5th – Melrose … 8pts
  • 6th – Hawick … 7pts
  • 7th= Edinburgh Accies and Watsonians … 5pts
  • 9th= Jed-Forest and Heriot’s … 3pts

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About Alan Lorimer 358 Articles
Scotland rugby correspondent for The Times for six years and subsequently contributed to Sunday Times, Daily and Sunday Telegraph, Scotsman, Herald, Scotland on Sunday, Sunday Herald and Reuters. Worked in Radio for BBC. Alan is Scottish rugby journalism's leading voice when it comes to youth and schools rugby.