Hawick’s rugby sevens survived the Borders Festival of Rugby at the weekend, when Jed-Forest showed the club means business ahead of the XV-a-side season.
While the decision to switch from the spring to the summer has still to be assessed, the opportunity to give players action was probably the correct one.
The hot weather of April 2019 was replaced by a damp afternoon on Saturday at Mansfield Park.
However, Jed coach Ross Goodfellow believes his side is moving in the right direction and reckons the club now has a stronger squad.
This led the way to its second Kings of the Sevens success in a row by adding the Hawick tournament to its win at Peebles a week earlier, with Robbie Yourston picking up the player of the tournament award.
“The boys dug in well in different conditions from Peebles,” said Goodfellow.
“I thought we were unbelievable and some of the tackling was dominant.
“We look at the bench and there are no fears there, and the sevens are a great way for the boys to improve.
“At the end of the day, it’s another trophy in the cabinet.
“Of course, the Super Six boys are not here and that helps a great deal,” he admitted.
“But we have brought in a couple of players and come on a lot, and it comes down to a bit of brawn.
“The final could have gone either way. It went straight to the wire.
“There was not a big crowd but, when you look to the forecast, you cannot expect anything else.
“Hopefully, with the Borders teams doing well, it will bring the crowds back.
“We need to support this and, if it leaves us, it is never coming back.
“It is a great way for the boys to use their skills.
“I love the sevens, and you are only one week away from the next tournament. It’s a nice change from the XVs.”
Melrose coach Stuart Johnson added: “We were happy to get to the final.
“The commitment and attitude was great and we could have won.
“It was a very physical final, as was to be expected in an all-Borders game.”
On the way to the final, and the club’s first in at the Hawick Sevens since 2002, Jed defeated Berwick, Watsonians and Selkirk, while Melrose accounted for Tynedale, Hawick and Boroughmuir.
Melrose led 10-5 at the break, with two James Brown tries to one from Rory Marshall, before two scores from Callum Young sealed the victory, with Gary Munro kicking one conversion.
In the first of the semi-finals, Melrose came from behind to knock out winners of the April tournament, Boroughmuir.
Gavin Parker and Gavin Welsh put their side in front after David Colvine had given Melrose the lead.
But further tries from Lewis Mallin and Colvine stretched the Melrose advantage, before Chris Raymond and Parker exchanged scores.
Jed proved too strong Selkirk in the second semi and led 17-0 at the interval, with tries from Callum Young, Marshall, and Lewis Young. Ryan Cottrell hit back with a try but scores from Munro and Robbie Shirra-Gibb ensured a comfortable win.
The Kings series resumes at Melrose in April with Jed (20 points), Melrose (12) and Hawick (10) leading the way. Results:
First round– Kelso bye, Peebles 17, Boroughmuir 21; Melrose 12, Tynedale 10; Langholm 0, Hawick 38; Berwick 12, Jed-Forest 31; Hawick Force 15, Watsonians 19; Edinburgh Accies 12, Selkirk 17; Gala bye.
Second round – Kelso 14, Boroughmuir 31; Melrose 33, Hawick 14; Jed-Forest 26, Watsonians 0; Selkirk 14, Gala 5.
Semi-finals: Boroughmuir 21, Melrose 28; Jed-Forest 31, Selkirk 5.
Final: Melrose 10, Jed-Forest 17.
Jed-Forest: N. Stingl, L. Young, D. Buckley, R. Shirra-Gibb, R. Marshall, C. Young, G. Munro, G. Young, M. Mitchell, R. Yourston.
Melrose: G. Wood, G. McWilliam, C. Meager, J. Brown, D. Colvine, L. Mallin, T. Klein, C. Raymond, E. McVicker, D. Crawford.