Melrose ‘battered and bruised’ but determined to bounce back from 7s cancellation

It is the first time since World War Two that the world-famous, historic event at The Greenyards has not gone ahead

Melrose have finally been forced to admit defeat in their battle to get 7s festival played. Image: Fotosport/David Gibson
Melrose have finally been forced to admit defeat in their battle to get 7s festival played. Image: Fotosport/David Gibson

MELROSE RUGBY LIMITED have been forced to bow to the inevitable by cancelling their annual sevens tournament, which was initially due to be held between the 9th and 12th April, and initially pushed back to later in the year when the coronavirus pandemic caused a lockdown in all sport and public gatherings.

It is a major blow to the club, who had ambitious plans to expand the event into a four day festival this year, and a big disappointment to the many thousands of rugby fans who make the annual pilgrimage to the Greenyards for the world famous event.

This is the first year since the Second World War that the Melrose Sevens has not gone ahead. Indeed, since the game of Rugby Sevens was first invented in Melrose in 1883 there have only been six cancellations, all due to world wars.

That was the month that was: June 2020

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“When we postponed the Melrose Sevens at the start of the Coronavirus outbreak, we had hoped to be able to reschedule to another date later this year,” said Phil Morris, Melrose Sevens tournament director. “However, as time has gone by it has become clear to us, and I’m sure to everyone else too, that the responsible decision is to cancel.”

Morris acknowledged that this cancellation will have a major financial impact, but insisted that the club is in a position to survive the setback.

“Had it not been for the SRUs Hardship Fund, various grants, the Government furlough scheme, and the generosity of our sponsors and volunteers, Melrose Rugby would be in a precarious position,” he said. “As it stands, with everyone’s continuing support, we’ll come through this exceptionally challenging year a bit battered and bruised, but intact. We are forever grateful to those organisations that have stepped in with a lifeline.

Melrose Rugby Ltd will shortly be contacting everyone who had purchased a ticket for this year’s event with three options and full details of what to do.

  • The first option appeals to the rugby family spirit and is essentially a ‘recovery donation’ which will be used to safeguard jobs and help Melrose Rugby recuperate from the extended loss of income.
  • The second option is to simply roll over your ticket to the 2021 Melrose Sevens on a like-for-like basis.
  • The third option is a full refund.

“We hope there will be a lot of people who will take up the donation and roll-over options,” said Morris. “These two options will certainly help secure the future of this historic club. However, we fully recognise that some people may be struggling financially at this time, so it is only right that we offer the option of a full refund too.”

Refunds will be dealt with in phases in the order tickets were purchased. Melrose Rugby requests that people wait for the official communication rather than contacting the club to express a preference. All ticketing administration is expected to be completed by the end of September.

“Now the hard work starts in earnest to put on a celebratory Melrose Sevens Returns event for 2021,” concluded Morris. “The dates for next year will be Thursday 8th to Sunday 11th April. It will be the same format as was confirmed for 2020. We even have Big Country secured again for the finale concert, so anyone who has already bought a ticket for this year’s cancelled Sevens is guaranteed their place at what will undoubtedly be a high-demand event.

“Tickets for the 2021 Melrose Sevens will go on general sale later this year, after everyone who wishes to roll-over their 2020 tickets have been processed.”

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About David Barnes 3911 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.