The race for King of Sevens hotted up over the weekend in the Scottish Borders, with Hawick and Melrose shining to take away the Langholm 7s and Peebles 7s titles respectively over the weekend. Hawick break the Wailers dominance. Heading into Saturday it was the Kooga Wailers who were the seemingly overwhelming favourites, having won there for the last four years. The Falcons breezed past Hawick YM and Perthshire before stumbling past a strong and well-drilled Watsonians, who top the King of Sevens table, 15-12. Hawick racked up a half ton in their opener against Jed-Forest before ultimately having too much for Gala and Selkirk.
Hawick break the Wailers dominance.
Heading into Saturday it was the Kooga Wailers who were the seemingly overwhelming favourites, having won there for the last four years. The Falcons breezed past Hawick YM and Perthshire before stumbling past a strong and well-drilled Watsonians, who top the King of Sevens table, 15-12. Hawick racked up a half ton in their opener against Jed-Forest before ultimately having too much for Gala and Selkirk. The Wailers seemed flat in the final though and their hopes of equaling Jed-Forest's five-in-a-row record at Langholm were dashed by a startling Hawick, who raced away with the title 26-7.
A feature of Hawick’s win, their first since 2004, was their adaptability to master the conditions better than the others, with the dry and hard pitch giving away to a deluge later in the afternoon. The win breathed new life back into a club whose fifteen-a-side team suffered relegation woes.
"We have had a tough season," said captain Graham Hogg, Hawick's Scottish Sevens representative.
"This is not making up for being relegated. But the boys have worked really hard the whole season and we deserve this."
Golden weekend for Melrose
The following day saw the trip to Gytes with the Peebles Sevens up for grabs. Melrose had some 15-a-side success the previous day, beating Haddington to go through to the Scottish Hydro Electric Cup Final. While the majority of their 7s squad had played the day before, they showed no 15s hangover, sweeping to the final with comfortable wins over Kelso, Peebles, Hawick.
Watsonians have been in ominous form thus far this season winning at Berwick the previous week and were arguably unlucky to be edged out by the Falcons the previous day at Langholm. They were forced to show character throughout the day, narrowly overcoming Selkirk 19-17 in the opening rounds, and were also forced to dig deep in the Semi-Final, scraping past a valiant Gala 20-17. In an impressive show of fitness and stamina from both sides, considering the amount of rugby that had been played over the weekend, the final proved to be a try fest. Melrose seemed to hold the edge, though, and deservedly took the honors sweeping to a 31-17 win. James Lew picked up the ‘Player of the Tournament’ award with a tally of 8 tries.
Watsonians remain top of the King of the Sevens table with three tournaments remaining, with Hawick, Selkirk and Melrose in close pursuit.
Samurai International take Stirling Sevens
Another big Scottish tournament over the weekend, outside of the King of Sevens circuit, was the third Ondeo City of Stirling Sevens. The tournament is becoming a terrific annual draw with local sponsors contributing to a prize pot of £5,000 (£2,500 to the winner) proving popular in these chastened times for clubs.
Kenny Logan's team, having lost to his old club Wasps in the inaugural final two years ago, returned this year as defending champions and would take some beating. Acting as a shadow squad to the Scottish team Logan included Scott Forrest, Roddy Grant, Mike Adamson, Jamie Hunter and Jim Thompson in his side. They met another star-studded side in the final, ULR Samurai International, one of the world’s premier invitational sevens team coached by Mark Hewitt. Samurai proved too hot to handle in the final though, with England’s David Smith going particularly well and helping to put away Logan’s side 31-19.