Locked in a supremacy battle with Championship Division B challengers Howe of Fife, Jed-Forest went out on Saturday and did exactly what they needed to do.
And in doing so they secured promotion back to the National League with a thrilling seven-try win over Lasswade at Riverside Park.
With only one point separating the top two teams, the Royal Blues’ fate was in their own hands going into their final league game of the season. And, with the sun shining, a big crowd turned up to see if the home side could keep their nerves at bay and secure the bonus-point win needed to secure victory that was so desperately wanted.
“It was vitally important to the club to win promotion this year after the disappointment of last season,” said a delighted Jed-Forest president Billy Grieve.
“It’s all credit to the players and coaching staff that they have achieved that goal.
“The boys knew they had to win all their games with bonus points from late November, and to win the league in this manner shows the spirit and determination this side has.”
Lasswade started the better team when their excellently-drilled forwards rumbled over from a great rolling maul.
Jed eventually got ball in hand and Chris Laidlaw sliced through the Lasswade defence to put Robert Hogg in for a great try before Chris Gillon was sent through by a neat inside pass from set play. Laidlaw converted both. Gillon scored again when he was first to get to the ball after a deft chip from the midfield.
Lasswade’s forwards were causing the hosts all sorts of trouble with their rolling maul and they scored again to keep Jed alert.
Jed’s fourth try to secure the priceless bonus point was a beauty. Robert Hogg attacked up the stand side and took the tackle of two visiting defenders before brilliantly offloading to Mark Burke. He still had a lot to do, but he twisted out of two tackles to score and send the crowd wild. Laidlaw converted again to give the hosts a 26-14 advantage at the interval.
Chris Laidlaw scored a try to secure his place as top points scorer in the Borders this season. Jed had hit top form and tries from John Szkudro and Mark Burke, plus two conversions and a penalty by Laidlaw, gave them victory.