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weekend. Like Melrose, the town is virtually closed down for the day. Jed-Forest has the advantage of being the last tournament on the circuit and it is here that the Kings of the Sevens winners are declared. They also benefit as the event is held in mid May and there is a chance of the weather being almost summery. This year, for the second season in a row,

the Kings of the Sevens went ‘down to the wire’ as our transatlantic cousins would say. Last season, Melrose beat Selkirk 38-33 in extra time in the final. At the start of the Jed tournament this season, there were 3 teams still in with a chance of winning the title: Selkirk, Jed-Forest and Melrose. The draw made it hard for Selkirk and, indeed, their chance went with a defeat to Melrose in the semi-final. So the final was between Melrose and the home side, Jed-Forest. It was ‘a winner takes all’ affair with Melrose eventually scraping home by 31-24. To the winner, the spoils! Melrose won the Jed trophy, which holds 9 bottles of champagne so that’s the prize money gone already! They won the Kings of the Sevens trophy as this was their 5th win of the 10 tournaments. They also had the player of the tournament in Jamie Murray, who plays centre in the 15 a side version of the game but is a hooker in sevens. Melrose were


The standard of 7s and the quality of competition at Olney 7s continues to improve year on year. 2011 at Olney turned up many enthralling encounters that kept spectators and players engaged all day. Conditions were ideal for 7s with three pitches in good condition and the weather warm and sunny with just one quick shower to freshen things up! ‘Thank you for organising such an excellent event. Olney was our 7th tournament of the year, and by far the best run. The pool sizes were spot on and there was not too much waiting between games. PA’s and ball boys also good and pitch quality top notch. We hope to be back next year with a strong team to challenge again,’ said Garth from CLIC Sargent Godfathers. The knockout stages of the Data-Re

open tournament saw last year’s winners, POD, coasting through against the 2010 runners up, Crispin Rhodes Crusaders. The Carmarthen Warriors against CLIC Sargent Godfathers was much closer with Godfathers progressing to the semi finals. In the other half of the draw Westcombe

Park 7s just gained the upper hand beating The White Hart Development side 10 – 5. In the last quarter final it was the two midland based sides Qube and Hammer Heads who came up against each other with Hammer Heads taking the semi final spot to meet Westcombe Park. The experience of the Westcombe side was too much for the youthful Hammer Heads who lost their game

the outstanding team on the circuit as there were 2 tournaments when they were forced to play a third string seven, as on one occasion the first fifteen had to fulfil fixtures in the Scottish Cup and on the next Saturday they had a league decider. The points in the Kings of the Sevens eluded them at two tournaments, which made their win all the more deserving. There has been a rich vein of rugby talent

which has cut its teeth in the short version of the game and there have been a succession of good teams which have dominated the Borders sevens circuit from the Hawick side in the 60s to the Gala side in the 70s and then the Kelso side in the 80s and 90s. However, there seems to have been 3 good sides in the past seven or eight seasons. Obviously, Melrose is at that level just now but Selkirk and Jed-Forest have run them close over that time. Success in the sevens has led to success at 15 a side level and also to many of the individuals who are performing on the current circuit. Lee Jones has moved from Selkirk to the professional game with Edinburgh. Fraser Harkness, who looks the most unlikely sevens player, has stepped up from a good Selkirk side to play on the International Board sevens circuit sponsored by Air Emirates. John Dalziel from Melrose has played on the IRB

7 - 17. The POD and CLIC Sargent Godfathers semi final was all square at the end of full time with POD just edging them out with a golden try to make the final. However, it was to be Westcombe Park 7s who took the honours to win the Data-Re Trophy 26 -12. Local teams Olney, Leighton Buzzard and

The Heart of England (Bletchley) all qualified for the Data-Re Plate which was won by Sabre 7s who beat BRM in the final. The Wooden Spoon, competed for by the last placed team in each pool, was won by Treforest Titans. This year’s new Hopping Mad social

tournament was as keenly competitive as the main tournament with the Shield being won by Banana 7s who took on Amlin 7s in the final. The President’s Bowl was won

circuit and, only 2 weeks ago, Callum Anderson stepped up from scoring tries for fun on the Borders circuit to the Scottish team at the London Sevens. Now in case you think everything is rosy, it is

only fair to point out the increasing problems of getting teams to play in the tournaments. The Border clubs all support each other but many of the city sides are reluctant to play sevens, although, to be fair, Watsonians, Heriots and Edinburgh Accies all performed well in the past few weeks. Clubs have also withdrawn as they have had to complete fixtures in the various leagues late into April due to the horrendous winter and huge number of cancellations encountered over the season. All in all, the curtain has just come down

on another good Kings of the Sevens circuit. It was very competitive and 4 of the tournaments were won by the host club: at Melrose, Hawick, Peebles and Selkirk. It is a good day out for the spectators although their pockets will have been sorely emptied by attending all events and it is especially hard on the players who played in all 10 events.

Review by John Thorburn, Secretary of the Kings of the Sevens Circuit.

by Sheffield Bears, which was a fitting end to their ’on tour’ weekend to the home of Olney 7s. The quality of play on the pitches was

supported by some serious socialising in and around the clubhouse. This was in no small way helped by the Hopping Mad beer tent, a range of good food and a Caribbean disco. This was later followed up with a hog roast and live band and continued well into the next day. ‘I would like to take this opportunity to thank Olney for having us for the weekend. The club were fantastic hosts and the event seemed to be exceptionally well received across both tournaments. Hopefully we’ll be able to return next year!’ said Phil Tomlinson of Sheffield Bears

Issue 4 / / 39

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