COLIN RENTON @ Inverleith
A SAMURAI squad brimming with quality turned on the style to lift the Pilgrim’s Gin Elite title at the Edinburgh City 7s, eventually getting the better of Projecx Waterboys 29-14 in a high quality final.
Samurai, with a talented mix in the line up, including Scotland international Tom Brown and sevens cap Sam Pecqueur, qualified as Pool B winners, although they were given a tough workout by CLIC Sargent Godfathers in the semi-final, only sealing a spot in the final when Pecqueur raced over in the final play.
That set up a showdown for the silverware with Waterboys, winners of Pool A, who beat Rex Club Red Kites in the other semi-final.
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Waterboys, resplendent in their Doddie Weir inspired kit, had a side drawn largely from Edinburgh clubs. But the afternoon’s efforts had taken their toll by the time the final came round and several were nursing injuries that kept them out of action.
That didn’t detract from an entertaining contest that hung in the balance at half-time after Brown and Pecqueur dotted down and Ross Jones added a touchline conversion for Samurai, while Jordan Edmunds crossed for Waterboys and Tom Wilson converted. Calum Young and Charlie McKill traded scores before Samurai made the game safe with tries from Mike Adlard and Pecqueur, with Murray Johnstone claiming the other points for Waterboys.
“We got better throughout the afternoon and it’s an absolute pleasure,” said Samurai captain Richard Mill. “We kept our shape and we’ve got x-factor players all over the park. Everyone has bought into what we’re about as an invitation side. I feel very honoured to play for this team – it’s a quality team.”
Although it produced a strong group of players, pulling together a squad from around the country meant there was little time to prepare.
“We had a 40 minute training session on Friday and first game we were pretty shoddy,”said Mill. “Defence wins sevens matches and we know that our attack will take care of itself eventually. It showed in the semi final and final.”
Kites claim ladies title
Rex Club Red Kites were impressive winners of the Rettie & Co Ladies title, seeing off Scrum Rugby People 42-7 in a final that was less one-sided than the score suggests. A converted score for Red Kites by Rachel McLachlan was cancelled out by a self-converted Mhairi Grieve effort before McLachlan – a Scotland sevens cap and former national judo champion – completed a hat-trick and Rachel Law had a double, with Bryony Nelson completing the try haul and Lizzie Goulden booting five conversions.
Skipper Kat Hobson, who plays her rugby at Darlington Mowden Park, said: “It’s been a difficult afternoon playing five games – turnaround was really quick some times but we really pulled together as a team.”
Although drawn from around the UK, the team is Scottish-based and Hobson was delighted to sign off after a campaign that had also taken in tournaments in Kinsale, Bournemouth and Amsterdam, on a winning note.
“We’ve got lots of young girls in the squad and it was really nice to see them perform well. We came up against opposition where we didn’t really know what we’re coming across. This is our last tournament for the season so it was really enjoyable,” added.
Crusaders are top veterans
Crusaders shrugged off the loss of their strips in a launderette fire last week to take the Murray Capital Veterans 10s title. Undeterred, they produced some impressive rugby to beat Powerbombs 19-5 in a feisty final that proved the competitive fire still burns bright despite the players having reached veteran status.
Powerbombs had former Scotland winger Cameron Murray and Glasgow Warriors coach John Dalziel in a line up that also included several others who performed at a high level in the past, among them Richie Maxton and the Dodds brothers Allan and Graeme.
However, they were outgunned by a Crusaders squad captained by Gavin Brown, whose classy finish sealed the victory, and featuring Ross Weston, Malcolm Clapperton, Opeta Palepoi plus former Heriot’s colleagues Grant Talac and Stewart Mustard, who were lining up together for the first time in 13 years.
Meanwhile, Bullbarians took the honours in the Belhaven Social competition, beating the Island Boys in the final.
The second year of the tournament was a step up from the inaugural event and, while there were minor issues, hardworking organiser Donald Crawford was rewarded for his efforts with a good turnout and some excellent rugby, followed by several hours of music in the party tent. He has already turned his eye to next year, when he hopes to move things on a further step.
“We got around 2,500 people. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. There was some great rugby – some really good ties in all four competitions and there was some fiery stuff in the vets. It’s been good fun,” said Crawford, who admitted that the day hadn’t been without its difficulties, not least the weather which finally cleared in time for the knockout stages.
“Our scoreboard hasn’t been working and the schedule was a bit of a mess because teams were dropping out, so we had to cope with that”, he added. “We’ve grown a lot since last year and we plan to grow again next year. There’s going to be some big changes next year and hopefully it will just kick on from here.”
Pilgrim’s Gin Elite men finalists
Samurai: R Campbell, S Pecqueur, B Colvine, J Sole, R Chalmers, A Ball, T Brown, R Mill, M Adlard, R Jones, C Young, R Nixon.
Projecx Waterboys: I Wilson, L Berg, C Scott, M Mason, J Matthews, T Wilson, M Johnstone, G Cannie, F Dewar, J Edmunds, C Venables, J Hare.
Rettie & Co Ladies finalists
Rex Red Club Kites: L Dodd, R Woosey, R Law, K Hobson, R McLachlan, L Winter, L Goulden, B Nelson, S Denholm, C Miell, E Gallagher
Scrum Rugby People: A Wallace, A Roberts, C Cowan, M Grieve, C Haldane, E Haldane, A Foxworthy-Bowers, B Thompson, H Mutton, I Alix, I Birrell, C Reyes.