In photos: Melrose hosts Borders' first U18 rugby tournament for nearly 18 months
Young rugby players from all over the Borders and beyond gathered at Melrose at the weekend to play their first competitive games for almost a year and a half.
The town’s Annay Road and Battery Dyke pitches hosted a ten-a-side tournament for under-18s on Saturday, June 5, bringing to an end a sabbatical forced upon the sport by the coronavirus pandemic at the start of last year.
It being their first opportunity to play competitive rugby for almost 18 months, clubs from across the Borders were keen to get involved, with players coming from Kelso, Selkirk, Jedburgh and Peebles, plus two teams apiece from Hawick and Duns as well as two clubs from the capital, North Edinburgh Vikings and Boroughmuir.
Mindful that Scottish Government Covid-19 restrictions are only finally being lifted, and gradually at that, safety was paramount, with set pieces banned and rucks and mauls subject to limits on the number of players involved.
A spokesperson for the tournament said: “Ten-a-side is a format that encourages open and expansive rugby.
“The emphasis of the event was on taking part in a safe environment.
“There were no gold or silver medals for winning. Boys were grateful for getting a run out.
“A sunny June day with temperatures over 20C ensured a great celebration of creative rugby for all.
“A huge thank-you must go to all match officials who volunteered to make the event possible, as well as first-aiders, Covid officers and sponsors, with a special mention for Martin Baird Butchers in Melrose who donated meat pies for all the players.
“We are looking forward to hosting this successful event again in 2022.”
Here’s how the day went, as photographed by Bill McBurnie and Carys Williams ...