When the going gets tough - Melrose dig even deeper

Selkirk Sevens tournament at Selkirk. Selkirk vs Melrose in the final.

Selkirk Sevens tournament at Selkirk. Selkirk vs Melrose in the final.

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After what was arguably the best final so far on this year’s Kings of the Sevens circuit, Melrose added another 10 points to their tally at Philiphaugh on Saturday.

But not before hosts Selkirk had made the 2014 Champions fight hard for the honours in a final clash that ended with a sudden-death try after a full eight minutes of extra time.

Selkirk Sevens tournament at Selkirk. Hawick vs Watsonians. Massive wedgie.

Selkirk Sevens tournament at Selkirk. Hawick vs Watsonians. Massive wedgie.

Indeed, Melrose had to endure two extra-time wins as Peebles ran them close in the first round

But they got over the finish line and won the Selkirk 7s for the first time since 2000.

Could they be tiring?

Possibly not. They had an easier time against Stew Mel with a 28-0 triumph before knocking out Gala 19-7 in the second semi-final.

Selkirk Sevens tournament at Selkirk. Brollies up.

Selkirk Sevens tournament at Selkirk. Brollies up.

Melrose coach John Dalziel told The Southern: “Selkirk wanted the win so much at their home sevens so we always knew it was going to be tough and I can’t praise the work ethic of our boys enough, but credit must also go to Selkirk who played out of their skins in tricky conditions.

“Our boys really love their sevens and no matter how tough it gets out there they always seem to be able to turn it up another notch. They were outstanding today.”

The win did not come without a price, however. Bruce Dick, who has just returned this season following a lengthy spell out with an ankle injury, broke his other ankle in the closing stages of the final and was taken to the Borders General Hospital where he underwent an operation on Sunday.

Unlike most of the Borders on Saturday, the sun shone on Selkirk for most of the afternoon and a large crowd gathered to watch the penultimate round of this year’s competition.

Selkirk Sevens tournament at Selkirk. Selkirk vs Glasgow

Selkirk Sevens tournament at Selkirk. Selkirk vs Glasgow

Excitement built throughout the afternoon as Selkirk carved a path to the final by beating Berwick (34-7) Glasgow Hawks (33-0) and Edinburgh Accies (20-12) and none present could question the home side’s determination to take their seventh win in eight years at their own event.

Along with the final came the predicted downpour, which made conditions tricky for the 14 battle-scarred players who took to the field.

But the hosts revelled in it. Darren Clapperton got the ball rolling with a try in the first minute, converted by Mikey Davies, before Melrose came back with a Richard Mill charge, converted by Skeen.

Selkirk dug deep as first Clapperton and then Callum Marshall made dashes for the line, but it was Ross Nixon who eventually managed to scramble over in the increasingly difficult conditions and Davies’ conversion made the half-time score Selkirk 14 Melrose 7. The Greenyards men showed just why they were Kings in the next couple of minutes with an excellent display of sevens rugby resulting in a try and conversion from Skeen.

Selkirk Sevens tournament at Selkirk. Gala score against Jed Forest.

Selkirk Sevens tournament at Selkirk. Gala score against Jed Forest.

Once again, though, Selkirk rallied and after having a try disallowed for a knock-on, were denied yet again when they were beaten to a chip and chase by Wilson. Callum McEwan then had the home crowd on their feet, only to be bundled into touch yards from the Melrose line.

Inevitably, the final whistle sounded with the score standing at 14-14 and the game moved into sudden death extra time.

Melrose had the first chance to take the victory as Skeen hacked the ball upfield, himself in hot pursuit, but again the ball was knocked on just shy of the line.

Selkirk defended like demons as Melrose upped the pressure and eight minutes passed with no quarter given by either side in the home 22.

Pressure paid off in the end, however, as the ball squirted out to Lewis Mallin, who danced his way through to score the golden try.

Melrose win the Selkirk Sevens beating Selkirk in the final.

Melrose win the Selkirk Sevens beating Selkirk in the final.

Selkirk Sevens tournament at Selkirk. Melrose captain Andrew Skeen with the cup.

Selkirk Sevens tournament at Selkirk. Melrose captain Andrew Skeen with the cup.