Kelso Sevens moved from its traditional autumn date a few years ago and, in the recent past, the club has tinkered with the idea of playing in pools rather than the straight knock-out.
It’s not an entirely new concept, as the Poynder Park outfit ran a pool system back at the time of their centenary.
For the 89th playing of the event this Saturday (first tie 1.30pm), however, Kelso Sevens has gone back to the 16-team knock- out. As well as the traditional nine Borders teams there will be perennial guests from Edinburgh in Watsonians, who celebrated their first success at Poynder in 2012, Edinburgh Accies, who have become a force in the sevens world both locally and internationally, and Edinburgh University, who surprisingly moved away from Scottish leagues to create a successful team in British student circles.
Stewart’s Melville FP, twice winners at Poynder, are back in the competition, as are Boroughmuir, current BT Scottish Cup winners and once winners at Kelso.
A disappointing late withdrawal from newly-crowned Scottish champions Heriot’s sees the Goldenacre outfit replaced by a Scotland Select.
The final team in the draw is the 1 Scots team who have had success in army competitions, especially at 10-a-side events.
The tournament is again sponsored by Lloyd Land Rover, who are based locally, but have outlets across the north of England as well.
A club spokesperson said: “We are, as always, grateful to Lloyd Land Rover for their second year of sponsorship. We are also very grateful to the other sponsors who have ensured that the hospitality is close to capacity, both in the upstairs lounge and in the marquee at the bottom end of the ground.”
Cullen Kilshaw are well-known in the Borders, but have recently opened up in Kelso and are jersey sponsors for the sevens throughout the AM.PM Catering Kings of the Sevens circuit.
At the moment, Gala are front-runners with three wins, with Jed-Forest looking good with their strength of sevens talent gathered together.
A win for Hawick at Langholm last week has brought the Teries into the mix, while Melrose, with their quest for the position of Scottish champions affecting their sevens performance, still have time to catch up the other teams in the defence of their KOTS title.
Kelso has gone a few lean seasons in the sevens world, but there were obvious signs of promise at Berwick with Andrew Skeen, who incidentally holds a winners’ medal from all 10 Kings of the Sevens, pulling the strings for the youthful hosts.
Admission prices are the same as last season at £12 for adults, £6 for concessions and £4 for secondary schoolchildren. There is limited free parking around the area of Poynder Park. In keeping with the other host clubs on the circuit, alcohol will not be allowed into the ground.