Primary 7 mini 
rugby players enjoy one last roar

The nights draw in, the days turn cold. The leaves fall and then turn from early autumn crispness – which is a delight to kick through – to that brown, sodden mess that is a slippery nightmare.

So cold are the evenings now that there will be frost on the ground one of these mornings.

Everyone you meet in the street is commenting on the nip in the air. We still have tomatoes ripening in trays in the greenhouse, their little red orbs reminding us of the glorious summer just past.

As autumn gets ready to turn into winter, every Tuesday night in Kelso there are P7s in shorts running about on the grass. Eh? How can that be?

Primary-age school children, finger-ends aching and noses freezing, throwing themselves on the cold, wet ground on which the rain has fallen like stair rods for the last 48 hours.

This is the world of mini rugby, which – like its adult counterpart – is just getting into its stride. Or should that be sidestep?

Those early balmy Sunday morning training sessions at the rugby club at the end of August are a faded, sun-warmed memory.

This is how it should be – mud, sweat but (hopefully) not too many tears.

These Tuesday nights are more than extra training to help them get the most out of their last mini rugby season. They are a precious time for these P7s and their coaches (dedicated dads), some who have been coaching them since they first started with the mini rugby in Primary 1.

These are the last few months before their season finishes next spring, when they will leave mini rugby and move on to playing at high school.

It will be a year of many changes for them as they make the huge transition from the cosy familiarity of their primary school classroom to the head-spinning, cross-town traffic of the metropolis that is secondary school.

Until then, there are bus rides with their team-mates to tournaments all over the Borders and beyond, a wee weekend tour away from their parents to distant Ayrshire, and coveted trophies and medals to be won.

And as a parent of one of them, who has regularly stood on the touchline for the last few years, slooooowly freezing, I stand yet again on a cold, damp Tuesday night typing this with freezing fingers whilst wondering at the total commitment of the (unpaid) coaches to turn out and invest their time, energy and effort in these kids.

Never mind high-level SRU meetings in board rooms.

Mini rugby across this region is thriving, and keeping alive the great tradition of Borders rugby.

As well as that, it is creating well-disciplined, rounded individuals who work hard for their team and could be forming life-long friendships.

Kelso Cougars Mini Rugby, I salute you.