Watsonians win battle of Poynder Park to retain title

2013 Kelso 7's
2013 Kelso 7's

A last-gasp try and conversion saw Watsonians snatch victory from Edinburgh Accies in a nail-biter of a final at the Kelso Maxwell Motors Sevens.

There was a good-sized crowd and some bright and dry – albeit cold – weather for the afternoon’s rugby.

2013 Kelso 7's

2013 Kelso 7's

It was fitting that it was Watsonians captain, Mike Ker, who secured victory with his conversion of Ramsay Young’s try, as the fly-half’s tactical kicking from hand had been superb all afternoon.

The Myreside club are now the first side to win two tournaments in the current sevens series and Saturday’s victory at Poynder Park, followed by a great run to the final of the Earlston Sevens on Sunday – where Melrose extracted revenge for the previous day’s hammering by Watsonians at Kelso – sees the capital city outfit lying second on 36 points, just two behind leaders Melrose, in the Kings rankings.

Tries by Scott McKean, Chris Scott and Jack Ferguson – and two Ker conversions – had given Watsonians what seemed an unassailable 19-0 lead at half-time in the final.

But Accies clawed their way back with three tries from Alex Blair and one from Euan Bonner to give them, what looked like, was going to be their first-ever Kelso success.

2013 Kelso 7's

2013 Kelso 7's

Accies were leading 24-19 with the referee on the point of blowing for full-time, when Young broke away with the ball and streaked for the line.

He was brought down just yards short, but quickly sprang to his feet, recollected the ball, and dived over to level the scores at 24-24.

It was then the turn of cool-as-a-cucumber Ker to slot the conversion for the vital winning two points.

There was nothing between the two teams and either would have been worthy winners. With solid-as-a-rock defences, both sides had produced the best rugby of the afternoon.

2013 Kelso 7's

2013 Kelso 7's

Speaking after receiving the Kelso trophy in front of jubilant supporters, Ker paid tribute to the battling Accies side which looked to have the final sewn up.

However, it wasn’t the final, but the semi against Melrose that pleased Ker the most.

A shell-shocked Melrose had found themselves trailing 0-19 at half-time after three tries and two conversions from Watsonians.

A fourth touchdown, McKean’s second, plus the reliable boot of Ker, saw Melrose put out 26-0.

KELSO, UNITED KINGDOM. - 04/05/13: 'Kings of the Sevens 2013'Round 7 Kelso Sevens''(Photo by  Rob Gray / Freelance / � 2013)

KELSO, UNITED KINGDOM. - 04/05/13: 'Kings of the Sevens 2013'Round 7 Kelso Sevens''(Photo by Rob Gray / Freelance / � 2013)

In the other semi, it was hosts Kelso who succumbed 17-24 to an Accies side that had already dispatched Jed-Forest and Selkirk in the earlier pool games.

Watsonians route to the final, meanwhile, had accounted for Hawick and Berwick.

Speaking afterwards, a delighted Ker said the semi against Melrose had been a highlight: “It’s great to win and with two victories – we’re right up there in the hunt for the Kings title with three to go.

“This is a great bunch of boys with a real desire to win and in the 12 years I’ve been doing this I’d have to say that those 14 minutes against Melrose are some of the best sevens this club has ever played.”

And it was team-mate Jack Ferguson who collected the Player of the Tournament award for his outstanding defensive and attacking qualities.

Of the Borders sides, Kelso and Melrose fared best, both making the semi-finals. Guest side, Pigbarians, were dumped out of the competition in the pool stages after suffering defeats to Gala (0-29) and Melrose (17-33).

Prior to the final, primary seven age group teams from Kelso and Jed-Forest entertained the crowd, with the Kelso Cougars youngsters running out worthy three tries-to-one winners with a sparkling display of rugby.