Walkerburn celebrate 130 years of pretty rugby

Peebles with the Walkerburn sevens trophy.
Peebles with the Walkerburn sevens trophy.
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Walkerburn may be the lowest-ranked of the 17 Borders senior teams, currently plying their trade in East League 3.

However, the club – which boasts one of the prettiest grounds in Scotland, on the banks of the River Tweed at Caberston Haugh – are looking to the future, while celebrating 130 years of history.

Jedforest vs Gala YM at the Walkerburn Sevens.

Jedforest vs Gala YM at the Walkerburn Sevens.

They made the decision this year to switch their annual sevens event from the same day as the Jedforest 7s to one week later – and it’s a move which certainly paid off.

A healthy crowd turned out for the event, despite the threat of rain, which only appeared during the final, and the quality of players on show was excellent.

A large chunk of Gala’s Premiership team were there, playing for either Gala YM or the Gala Co-optimists – a real boost to the event – and they weren’t the only team which fielded some of their stars from the Kings circuit or 15s game.

David Colvine and Nicky Little (Melrose), Mikey Davies (Selkirk), Chris Gillon and Donald Grieve (Jed-Forest), Greg Raeburn and Donald Anderson (Peebles), and the likes of Gregor Mein, Euan Dods, Craig Borthwick, Steve Cairns and Luke Pettie (Gala) gave the season one last go and helped support the Walkerburn club, who were so close to extinction earlier this season, suffering from a lack of players and winning just one match throughout the campaign.

Jedforest against the Occasionals at Walkerburn Sevens.

Jedforest against the Occasionals at Walkerburn Sevens.

Fortunately, the diehards such as Keith and Colin McCudden, captain Liam Card and former skipper Scott Elder have committed so much this campaign, often giving up their Saturdays to play for the jersey, knowing that defeat was inevitable in games where they could not raise a full team. Without their efforts the club would be gone, but events like their sevens on Saturday certainly created a buzz around the place, and with plenty of media publicity surrounding it, it is hoped that many will join up for next season to get the team back on track.

As far as the rugby on the pitch was concerned, it was clear that Gala YM and Peebles were the deserved finalists, brushing aside opposition with ease. And while the YM were by far the more experienced, the mainly young Peebles side – featuring the very talented brothers Jack and Richard Harrison, and led by captain Scott McCormick – would cause Gala problems – and so it proved. Jack Harrison scored a hat-trick with his brother getting the other try, while Stuart Borthwick and Fraser Hunter went over for Gala YM.

Jack collected the Player of the Tournament award, while Peebles won the Walkerburn 7s trophy for the first time since 1996.

Quarter-finals: Haddington 17 Gala Co-ops 21; Peebles 31 Leith 7; Gala YM 38 Preston Lodge 10; The Occasionals 17 Jed-Forest 29.

Peebles vs Gala YM in the final of Walkerburn Sevens.

Peebles vs Gala YM in the final of Walkerburn Sevens.

Semi-finals: Gala Co-ops 7 Peebles 26; Gala YM 34 Jed-Forest 7.

Final: Peebles 24 Gala YM 14.

Player of the tournament Jack Harrison runs to score another try for Peebles at the Walkerburn Sevens.

Player of the tournament Jack Harrison runs to score another try for Peebles at the Walkerburn Sevens.

Peebles captain Scott McCormack with the Walkerburn sevens trophy.

Peebles captain Scott McCormack with the Walkerburn sevens trophy.