There was joy for both Melrose and Jed-Forest last weekend as one of the closest Kings of the Sevens competitions for many a year came to a conclusion.
It may have been a harsh day weatherwise – it rained persistently throughout – but the action was red hot.
Melrose secured the Kings title after beating Gala 26-10 in the semi-finals, but hosts Jed spoiled the party by overcoming the much-fancied Greenyards outfit 27-7 in the last match of an entertaining afternoon.
Before the tournament kicked off, all the chat had been about Melrose and Watsonians, who sat first and second respectively in the Kings table. But it was a quietly-confident home outfit who impressed on the day.
Despite the atrocious weather conditions, a large enthusiastic crowd turned out to get behind the hosts whose hunger for a win was boosted by a desire to give retiring captain Ross (Goody) Goodfellow the best send-off possible.
Speaking after the final, Goodfellow told TheSouthern: “I had dreamt of winning the tournament today, but you never really think it is going to happen.
“In the changing rooms it was really emotional, I’ve never seen them like that before. Everyone was saying ‘come on, let’s win it for Goody’. I started thinking then that we could do it. What a send-off. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Two contrasting semis led to some interesting debate among onlookers as to which team would win the tournament. It was a hard slog between Kings hopefuls Watsonians and Jed.
A no-scoring first half led one to believe that the first team to blink would win the tie – and so it transpired. Two minutes after the restart, a searing break by Lewis Young was stopped just metres from the Watsonians line, courtesy of some excellent defending from Mike Ker’s men. Jed pushed on though, encouraged by their support, and the ball was shipped out to the opposite side of the pitch for Goodfellow to touch down in the corner.
The second semi was much more clear cut. Gala were playing without influential scrum half George Graham who had been somewhat unfairly red-carded following a bout of fisticuffs during the quarter-final tie against Kelso. Having played most of the second half of that game with six men, the Maroons were visibly tired.
Richard Mill opened the scoring for Melrose and Andrew Skeen slotted the conversion, before Callum Anderson ran in another to stretch the lead.
Gala came back, just before the break, with a try from James Parker.
Melrose notched another just after the restart through Allan Dodds, with Skeen knocking over the conversion before adding and converting his own touchdown.
Grant Somerville went over for Gala with a minute remaining and the Netherdsale outfit continued to press, but time ran out and Melrose gained the points they needed to claim the Kings title.
Jed opened the scoring in the fourth minute of the final when Robert Hogg broke through. Ian Chisholm added the conversion, but Melrose came straight back with Skeen scoring and converting his own try to level the scores.
Chisholm had a try chalked off for an apparent forward pass, but there was no holding the hosts back and just before the break Goodfellow crossed the line, Chisholm converting, to put his team 14-7 ahead at the break.
After the restart Jed ran rampage. Lewis and Glen Young ran in additional tries, with Chisholm slotting a penalty to make the final score.