ALAN LORIMER @ Netherdale
JED-FOREST captured their first sevens title this season by winning the Gala tournament at Netherdale with victory over the host club in a thrilling final that went to extra time.
Gala, however, who were runners-up in the opening round of the Kings of the Sevens at Peebles last August, move to the top of the leaderboard in the competition.
The result made it a second success for Jed over Gala in the space of twenty four hours. The two clubs had played each other in the National League One match at Netherdale on Saturday finishing in a 25-6 win for the visitors.
“It’s been a tough weekend for us but with a bit of silverware at the end, it makes it worth the effort,” said the Jed coach, Kevin Barrie, adding: “We’ve not done a lot of sevens training because we’ve been concentrating on fifteens which is clearly a priority for us right now.”
“Sevens certainly helps our fitness and makes it easier at training. We’re seeing every fifteens game just now as a final and that mentality is carrying over to the sevens game,” suggested Barrie.
For Gala, defeat was hard to swallow. The Maroons appeared to have scored in extra time when their skipper Graham Spiers broke clear and dived in at the corner, but the referee, in consultation with his assistant, ruled that the ball had not been grounded properly and moreover was in touch in goal.
Spiers had a chance to wipe out this loss when Gala were awarded a penalty in the Jed 22m area. The Gala captain opted to go for goal but his drop kick faded past the far upright.
“We had our chances in extra time. We thought we had done enough to win the final,” stated the Gala coach, Chris Dalgleish. “It’s no consolation that we actually head the Kings of the Sevens,” he added.
Jed and Gala were the two stand-out teams in the tournament although Watsonians and Boroughmuir also looked sharp in Pool 4. Watsonians, the current holders of the Kings-of-the-Sevens title, slipped up against Boroughmuir losing 22-10 to the Meggetland men.
Gala topped Pool 2 with comfortable wins over Kelso and Peebles while Jed came through Pool 3 by beating Heriot’s and Selkirk.
Then in the semi-final Gala faced harder opposition in the shape of a Melrose side minus their top stars but containing emerging players from their Storm side that won the reserve league this season.
Gala led 14-5 at the break with tries by Carlisle Jordaan and Ruairi Howarth to a touchdown for Melrose by Ruaridh Campbell. Spiers then raced in for a converted try but Melrose responded well, scoring tries by Campbell, Lewis Mallin and Patrick Anderson to take a 24-21 lead, before a final surge from Howarth, who has been playing for Northumbria University this season, secured the winner.
In the second semi-final, two tries by Sean Goodfellow gave Jed a 12-0 interval lead over Borughmuir, but the Meggetland men then found their sevens form to run in tries by Euan McKirdy and Matt Walker to tie the scores at 12-12. But a third try for Jed by Lewis Young steered the Royal Blues into the final.
It was Gala who made the better start in the final as Robbie Irvine dotted down for a converted try. But a reply by Robbie Yourston and the conversion levelled the scores, only for Rex Jeffrey to give Gala the half time lead with a converted try.
Then, in the second-half, Yourston crossed for his second try, the conversion tying the scores at 14-14 and forcing extra time. Gala should have won in ‘sudden death’ but Spiers’ was twice denied. Then, when Gala turned over possession near the Jed line, the ball was shipped to Lewis Young and the former Scotland sevens cap sprinted 80 metres to score the winning try .
Gala Sevens Results –
Pool 1: Melrose 31 Edinburgh Accies 5, Melrose 24 Powerbombs 7, Powerbombs 21 Edinburgh Accies 26
Pool 2: Gala 36 Kelso 0, Gala 43 Peebles 7, Peebles 19 Kelso 17
Pool 3: Jed-Forest 24 Heriot’s 7,Jed-Forest 19 Selkirk 17, Heriot’s 33 Selkirk 19
Pool 4: Watsonians 10 Boroughmuir 22, Watsonians 52 Hawick 5, Hawick 0 Boroughmuir 36
Gala 28 Melrose 24, Boroughmuir Jed-Forest
Cup Final –
Gala 14 Jed-Forest 19 (After Extra Time)
Gala: R Tod, R Irvine, M Faught, J Turnbull, G Hunter, G Spiers, C Jordan, R Jeffrey, R Howarth, D Nicholson.
Jed-Forest: S Goodfellow, D Wardrop, R Yourston, R Marshall, C Young, G Young, L Young, R Shirra-Gibb, C Skeldon, E Stewart
Referee: S O’Neill
Plate Final: Powerbombs 14 Selkirk 31
Bowl Final: Watsonians 27 Edinburgh Accies 0
Kings of the Sevens (after two rounds): 1st Gala 14pts, 2nd Watsonians 13pts, 3rd = Jed-Forest, Melrose 10 pts, 5th Edinburgh Accies 8pts, 6th Peebles 6 pts, 7th Boroughmuir 5pts, 8th = Heriot’s, Selkirk, Kelso 3pt