Melrose completed a remarkable run of sevens victories at the weekend, when they notched up their eighth win from 10 tournaments.
At a sun-bathed Riverside Park on Saturday evening, the Greenyards outfit defeated the hosts 24-5 in the final of the 2014 Mainetti Jed-Forest Sevens.
Melrose looked sluggish in their first three ties, but improved as the afternoon wore on and booked their place in the final by defeating Edinburgh Accies 19-5 in the second semi-final.
Jed-Forest put Berwick and Selkirk to the sword in the early rounds, before disposing of a hard-working Gala side 17-14 in the semi-final.
The final was a repeat of last year’s, which the hosts won 27-7.
But Melrose were determined to avenge that loss and by half-time had built up a 0-19 lead.
Melrose’s first half tries came from Andrew Skeen, Callum Anderson and scampering scrum-half, Tommy Wilson.
Two minutes after the restart and the home side got their first points on the scoreboard with a try from Rory Marshall.
But that was all the scoring Jed was able to manage against an increasingly dominant Melrose seven and, forced to play the last two minutes a man down after Lewis Young was yellow carded, proved too big a mountain to climb for the hosts.
And the final nail in the coffin came when Melrose’s Lewis Mallin went over for the last touchdown of the day.
Watching his players lift not only the tournament trophy, but also the cup for the Kings of the Sevens title secured several weeks ago, Melrose’s head coach John Dalziel praised his squad’s incredible winning run.
“It’s remarkable, a huge achievement,” Dalziel told The Southern.
“Eight out of 10, I think speaks for itself. We’ve not changed our squad a lot. Two or three guys got some serious injuries, but stayed constant, kept coming back and the pleasing thing is they’ve wanted it more and more.
“Some guys were playing pretty broken up today, with heavy strappings on, and hobbling about. We looked like we were about to run out of steam but just found something in that semi-final and kicked through to another trophy.”
Melrose’s path to the final saw them dispose of Stewart’s/Melville in the first round with some individual brilliance from scrum-half Wilson and a lovely one-handed offload to let Allan Dodds go over for the score to add to an early try from Callum Anderson.
Dodds’ second saw the final score 21-7. Next up for the Greenyards team was a tough Kelso side that really made them work for the win.
Melrose’s 17 points included tries from Callum Anderson, Dodds and Andrew Skeen, with Kelso’s points coming from tries from Dom Buckley and Matty Douglas.
Melrose faced a good Edinburgh Accies side in the second semi-final, eventually winning 19-5 with tries from Dodds (2) and Wilson.
Jed-Forest’s route to the final saw the hosts defeat Berwick 22-14 in the first round and then inflict a 24-7 beating on Selkirk, with tries from Declan Wallace, Donald Grieve, Chris Gillon and Lewis Young.
Selkirk’s solitary try came from Scott Tough.
The hosts’ toughest match on their journey to the final was the first semi-final against a strong Gala side.
Two tries from Robert Hogg helped Jed to a 12-7 lead over the Maroons by half-time, with Gala’s points including a try from flying winger James Parker.
It was looking like anyone’s game right to the last minute, with Gala snatching a two-point lead after a try from Gregor Young.
But the hosts were not to be denied a place in their own final and some slick handling saw Gillon crash over in the near corner to seal a popular victory.