After a 12-year gap, Melrose once again got their hands on the Scott Cup at the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Langholm sevens tournament at Milntown on Saturday, and extended their lead in the Kings of the Sevens.
The Greenyards men were runners-up at Langholm as recently as 2012 when beaten by Hawick, but on this occasion they were worthy winners by 28-12 over a good looking Edinburgh Accies side.
Accies have now been beaten in the final at Melrose, Hawick and Langholm, and were looking for a first win at Milntown since 1929, after losing in the final to Selkirk last year.
Melrose skipper Andrew Skeen was delighted with his team’s performance and now has a total of 14 sevens medals to his name, from winning tournaments with Newcastle Falcons, Watsonians and Melrose – he’s now won the Milntown sevens with both Newcastle and Melrose. Melrose coach John Dalziel said he had now used 14 players on the circuit and was fortunate to have a big squad as injuries take their toll and it is tough to play both Saturday and Sunday.
Accies went ahead in the final with an interception try by Ruaridh Bonner, but Melrose replied with a fine effort from Tommy Wilson, who was chosen as player of the tournament by the referees.
Skeen converted to put Melrose 7-5 in front at half-time. Melrose then stamped their authority with another try from Wilson, and then Austin Lockington and Callum Anderson got touchdowns and Skeen converted the lot. Accies never gave up in what was an action-packed final and secured a try from Nyle Godsmark, which was converted.
Melrose started the afternoon by comfortably disposing of Peebles. They then came up against a Kelso side who had easily beaten a Presidents Select that had stood in when RHC Cougars pulled out at late notice. Allan Dodds had to pull out injured for Melrose, but Ross Ovens and Skeen put them 14-0 up at the break and in the end beat Kelso 26-7.
The semi-final between Melrose and Watsonians provided plenty of excitement and it was 5-5 at the change of ends. Michael Robertson of Kelso had went on as replacement for Melrose and he got on the try list with Skeen, to stretch the lead to 17-5. Rory Steele scored for the city men, but time ran out and Melrose advanced to the final.
A Craig Dods try brought Gala level at 12-12 just before the interval in the first round tie with Edinburgh Accies. Alex Godsmark was in fine form for the Accies and contributed a couple of tries in what in the end was a comfortable 31-12 win over a rather disappointing Gala.
Dumfries had to work hard to get the better of Langholm in the opening round, but were no match for Accies in the quarter-finals. The semi-final between Selkirk and Accies could have gone either way for a while, but Godsmark ran in his second try to put the Edinburgh side in front by 19-10.
Darren Clapperton looked to be away for Selkirk on a touchline run, but a great cover tackle by former Jed player Iain Chisholm halted the danger. Godsmark then romped the length of the field to put Accies through 26-10.
Of the other Borders sides, Jed were trailing 21-17 to an impressive Orkney, who were making their first appearance at Milntown. But Jed edged through in the closing seconds to win 24-21. They were then knocked out in a thrilling quarter-final against Watsonians by 21-19. ’Sonians had started the afternoon by thumping Northumberland.
This was followed by another exciting quarter-final between Selkirk and Hawick. Selkirk had knocked out guests Denmark by a narrow 14-7 and Hawick had been comfortable winners over Berwick.
It was 19-14 to Selkirk at half-time, but Lee Armstrong and Keith Davies put Hawick in front. Then Selkirk hit back in an action-packed Borders tie and held on to win by 31-29.
The Scott Challenge Cup was presented to Melrose captain Andrew Skeen by Kenneth Pool representing the sponsors EWM. The Archie Smith memorial cup was presented by his son Billy Smith to player of the tournament Tommy Wilson of Melrose.