Column: Tension mounting as 7s title could go one of three ways

This Saturday it’s the penultimate round of the current Kings of the 7s, with Selkirk Sevens taking place at Philiphaugh, starting at 2pm.

By Stuart Cameron
Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 8:56 am
Updated Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 8:56 am
Selkirk captain Aaron McColm and team-mates celebrating winning Earlston Sevens on Sunday (Photo: Bill McBurnie)
Selkirk captain Aaron McColm and team-mates celebrating winning Earlston Sevens on Sunday (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

With just two rounds to go, there are three teams in with a chance of winning the tournament overall, with Jed-Forest favourites as they have a 10-point lead at the top of the table with 48 points. Melrose are in second place on 38, with Selkirk on 35.

That means, of course, that if the men from Riverside Park win the Selkirk tournament, they will be crowned Kings of the 7s at Philiphaugh, but any result leaving them 10 points clear of the next best team will be good enough to secure the title.

From a tournament perspective, it is always good if two or more teams are still in with a chance on the final day of the competition, but you can be in no doubt that Jed would be more than happy to wrap it up on Saturday.

It’s been a while since we had a Borders team as Kings of the 7s champions, with no event taking place over the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic and Edinburgh’s Watsonians winning the three years in a row before that. At least we know there will be a Borders team’s name engraved on the trophy this season.

Back to Selkirk’s tournament and Jed-Forest have not got a good record at Philiphaugh.

In the entire history of the event, Jed have made the final on 10 occasions, losing seven of them, with their last victory being against Gala in 2015, although they did appear in the final in 2019, losing out to Boroughmuir.

Selkirk would love to win their own tournament and they have a good record, having won 14 of their 26 final appearances over the years, beating Melrose 12-7 in 2018.

Back-to-back wins of Kings of the 7s tournaments will be exactly what they are aiming for, so we won’t be writing them off yet. We could see a very exciting end to the Kings of the 7s yet.

While most Kings of the 7s events involve pools, the last three tournaments will be straight knockout contests. They are certainly more fun for spectators but players probably prefer the pool system employed by the World 7s Series as it gives them a guarantee of at least two games, something particularly attractive to visiting teams from outside the Borders, and, of course, it means that host clubs only need to fill 12 spots rather than 16 and that can be very hard to do.

Saturday’s sevens will be a keenly contested event and one we are all looking forward to.

It’s an event that is wide open and I wouldn’t want to predict who the four semi-finalists will be on Saturday, because literally anyone could take the title and that will make it very exciting.