WATSONIANS edged closer to being crowned Kings of the Sevens this season after taking the honours at the Kelso tournament by achieving victory over Boroughmuir in an all-Edinburgh final at Poynder Park.
It was another sensational set of sevens performances by the Myreside men, confirming the view that they are again the form side in the short game. There one moment of concern came in the semi-final against Jed-Forest, when they were taken to extra time before progressing to the final.
That blip notwithstanding, Watsonians once again looked the complete side. The presence of Ben Robbins merely added to the scorching pace provided by Scott McKean, while in player of the tournament Lewis Berg they had the kind of sevens player who brings power and speed to the game. So impressive was Berg that it is not inconceivable the powerful centre could get a call-up to the Scotland squad.
“In terms of guys who are training and putting their hands up for selection this was probably the best side we’ve had out this season,” said the Watsonians coach, Mike Ker.
“We still left a few good guys behind. There’s a few injuries and this was a holiday weekend. We‘ve used 20 players. It’s great having so many.”
Ker will again be in charge when his side competes at Earlston. Looking ahead to Sunday’s tournament at The Haugh he said: “We won’t be taking our foot off the gas and we’ll be up for it at Earlston. We’ve not won at Earlston for ten years. It’s one we’re going for big time. For a lot of guys it would complete the set.”
Watsonians came through the rounds with straightforward wins over Peebles and Berwick but in the semi-final they had to dig deep to overcome a reinvigorated Jed-Forest side, eventually doing so in extra time when the former Currie wing Robbins used the pace that won him a New Year Sprint title as a 16-year old to dash to the line for the deciding score.
For their part, Boroughmuir progressed through the top half of the draw by beating Langholm in the first round before having to work hard to defeat a Melrose side that featured two under-18s in Scotland age-grade cap Harri Morris and Boroughmuir Youth Cup winner Ethan McVicar. Then in the semi-final a hat-trick of tries by hooker Johnny Matthews helped the Meggetland men to a 34-12 win against hosts Kelso.
In the final Watsonians had to do without Charlie McKill while Boroughmuir were without the influential Chris Laidlaw. Watsonians led 19-7 at half time from two tries byBerg and one by Scott McKean to a try for Boroughmuir by Matthews. Euan Miller and McKean added further tries for Watsonians in the second half, Muir countering with scores from Greig Cannie and Tom Wilson.
“They were a bit more clinical than us when they had the ball,” Wilson conceded. “And their kick-offs are really good. So we’ve got things to work on in training. We’ll have roughly the same team at Earlston, so hopefully we can get to the later stages.”
Round 1: Melrose 48 Edinburgh University 7, Boroughmuir 54 Langholm 0, Gala 27 Earlston 5, Falkirk 0 Kelso 43, Hawick 17 Jed-Forest 31, Selkirk 12 Edinburgh Accies 35, Berwick 22 Powerbombs 21, Watsonians 47 Peebles 0.
Quarter-finals: Melrose 17 Boroughmuir 24, Gala 19 Kelso 21, Jed-Forest 41 Edinburgh Accies 0, Berwick 7 Watsonians 34.
Semi-finals: Boroughmuir 34 Kelso 12, Jed-Forest 22 Watsonians 27 (after extra time).
Final: Boroughmuir 19 Watsonians 31.
Boroughmuir :G Cannie, D Clapperton (Selkirk), J Matthews, T Wilson, R Marshall (Jed), R Arthur, G Welsh, G Parker, A MnCube, J Hamilton.
Watsonians: D Wardrope (Jed), E Miller, H Fisher, A Harris, S McKean, L Berg, B Robbins, C Bell, A Skeen, L Miller.