Jed-Forest win opening sevens contest at Peebles
The Kings of the Sevens resumed in style at The Gytes last Saturday – but perhaps the wind of change is sweeping through the tournaments in a similar year of change for league rugby.
But this was only the first event in the sevens series and realistic supporters will point to reality.
However, Jed head coach Kevin Barrie was delighted with the 26-7 victory over Hawick in the final.
“We got to two finals last season but we did not get any silverware,” he said.
“Everyone at Peebles contributed to our performance. It was tough, but our fitness levels were high.”
This was a day of learning experience for most clubs, but, as Hawick captain Bruce McNeil explained: “I think everyone just wanted to get the ball in their hands and play a bit of rugby.
“There were a lot of new faces and that is good for the game.”
Jed also had the player of the tournament, as Calum Young joined the rising stars at Riverside Park.
He said Jed wanted to atone for last season and they now had greater depth in the squad.
Now the club has set the yardstick for the new season with the Hawick tournament this Saturday.
It began well at Peebles with an opening-tie win against Kelso, to be followed with the elimination of Selkirk, who closed the gap to 17-12 after Monty Mitchell, Nik Stingl and Robbie Shirra-Gibb had put Jed in the driving seat.
The unknown Melrose, who scored early through Chris Raymond, were surpassed by the scores of Robbie Yourston, Dom Buckley, Gregor Young and Calum Young.
Jed led 14-0 at the interval in the final, with tries from Shirra-Gibb and Calum Young, both converted by Gary Munro.
Gregor Young stretched the lead on the restart, followed by a score from Buckley.
McNeill scored a consolation try for Hawick, converted by Aaron Redpath.
With Jed in the final, two tries from Andrew Mitchell put Hawick in the driving seat until Richie Todd and Daniel Nicholson hit back by half-time for Gala, but the Greens held out in a pulsating second half.
Kings title holders Watsonians, with a much-changed side, were pipped for a semi-final place by Gala, who defeated the Edinburgh side in their pool tie.
Jed’s triumph came just a day after the club had paid its long-waited tribute to the ‘Three 9s’ – Roy Laidlaw, Gary Armstrong and Greig Laidlaw – all of whom had worn the number nine jersey for Jed and Scotland, as well as captaining their country and also playing for the British and Irish Lions.
Pool A – Jed-Forest 40, Kelso 12; Kelso 12, Selkirk 31; Jed-Forest 17, Selkirk 12.
Pool B – Edinburgh Accies 27, Heriot’s 5; Heriot’s 12, Melrose 28; Edinburgh Accies 10, Melrose 14.
Pool C – Watsonians 12, Gala 24; Gala 43, Biggar 7; Watsonians 43, Biggar 5. Pool D: Peebles 24, Berwick 0; Berwick 7, Hawick 26; Peebles 5, Hawick 24.
Semi-finals – Jed-Forest 24, Melrose 7; Gala 10, Hawick 12.
Final – Jed-Forest 26, Hawick 7.
Jed-Forest: R. Yourston, M. Mitchell, G. Young, G. Munro; R. Marshall, R. Shirra-Gibb, D. Buckley, G. Young, G. Law, N. Stingl, L. Turnbull.
Hawick: A. Mitchell, B. McNeil, J. Linton, M. Bannerman, B. Donaldson, L. G. Wooley, M. Bell, R. McKean, S. Graham, A. Redpath, L. Ferguson.