ALAN LORIMER @ Mansfield Park
WATSONIANS have opened up a substantial lead in the Kings of the 7s competition after adding the Hawick title to their success at Melrose a week earlier by defeating Heriot’s in a final marred by two controversial yellow cards shown to the Goldenacre side.
It was another strong set of performances but the competitiveness of both Heriot’s and Boroughmuir was welcome for a tournament that was a risk of being awarded the Grey Riband accolade on the Borders Spring circuit.
You have to field a tad sorry for Hawick, however, trying to stage their sevens tournament (the second oldest in history) on a Saturday when the fifteens game was doing its best to ruin the event.
Jed-Forest, Edinburgh Accies , Selkirk and Kelso were all involved in vital National League One and Cup matches, Melrose, with next Saturday’s Cup final in mind, rested their top players and adding to the organisers’ misery was the late withdrawal of Peebles because of their National League Two match with Hamilton.
In the event, the first round and the quarter-finals made for dismal viewing but, fortunately for the tournament, the semi-finals provided sufficient excitement to rescue the afternoon.
In the first of these, Heriot’s, making amends for their quick exodus at The Greenyards last weekend, had to fight hard to hold off a gritty Melrose side, ultimately a try by Callum Marshall settling the tie for the Goldenacre men.
Then, in the second semi-final, Boroughmuir with tries from Jordan Edmonds (2) and Gavin Welsh took e a 21-17 lead over Watsonians with only a minute of play remaining, only for Charlie McKill to rescue the Myresiders with a late score.
In the final, a hat-trick of tries by Hertiot’s Donald Crawford levelled the scores at 19-19 but two refereeing decisions by Ross Mabon resulted in yellow cards shown to Heriots’ Struan Dewan and Iain Wilson, effectively killing the final. In the event, Watsonians added tries by Scott McKean and Ali Harris to win the Hawick title.
Watsonians’ coach Mike Ker admitted afterwards that his side took time to build towards their win. He said: “We were slow to get going. I think we struggled not having what should have been the game against Peebles.
“But having two really good and physical opponents in Boroughmuir and Heriot’s was great and the longer they come to these tournaments the better. These two teams are really good for the Borders circuit.”
For Heriot’s, co-coach Graeme Wilson stated that his side can perform. “We showed today what we can do when we get it right. We’ve got a decent sevens squad,” he suggested.
As to the yellow cards, Wilson commented: “After we got back to 19-19 I thought we had the momentum. The first yellow was very harsh; the second was fair enough but it was a consequence of being numbers down as a result of the first card.”
The next round of the Kings of the 7s programme is at Berwick this afternoon [Sunday].
- Hawick Sevens was sponsored by BSW Timber
Heriot’s: T Wilson, N Stingl, R Carmichael, G Dauglas, C Marshall, R Jones, C Robertson S Dewar, I Wilson, D Crawford
Watsonians: E Fox, A Davidson, J Miller, S McKean, W Thomson, A Harris, J Ferguson ,M Fedo, E Miller, C McKill.
Referee: R Mabon
First round: Melrose 40 Kelso 7, Heriot’s 26 Berwick 12, Edinburgh Accies 5 Hawick 36, Watsonians wo v Peebles, Jed-Forest 14 Hawick Force 22, Hawick Linden 7 Gala 22.
Quarter-final: Selkirk 7 Melrose 45, Heriot’s 26 Hawick 14, Watsonians 35 Hawick Force 0, Gala 5 Boroughmuir 36
Semi-final: Melrose 21 Heriot’s 24, Watsonians 24 Boroughmuir 21
Final: Heriot’s 19 Watsonians 29