Jed steal victory from hosts' grasp in final of Gala Sevens
Jed-Forest were crowned Gala Sevens champions at a bitterly-cold Netherdale on Sunday, as the spring sevens series started in style.
The Riverside Park men survived more than one obstacle on their way to victory, but it was the fleet-footed Lewis Young who managed to haul his side over the line with a sudden-death extra time try.
Young told The Southern: “There’s nothing better than playing extra time in a final, especially when you get the win.
“It kind of sucks when you get beat, but to finish it like that, to score the winning try, was a great feeling.”
Their opponents in the final, hosts Gala, can consider themselves very unlucky not to have their own name scribed on their own trophy – a feat they last managed in 2015, when they bettered Jed-Forest 28-19.
The Maroons also had their chance to do it in extra time, when they were awarded a penalty in front of the posts, but the hosts’ captain, Graham Speirs, suffered from a severe case of jelly legs and sclaffed the kick wide left.
However, it has to be said, Speirs had hardly put a foot wrong all day, with a commanding performance throughout their ties against Kelso and Peebles in the pool matches, and against Melrose in the very tightly-fought semi-final, so he shouldn’t feel too bad.
Gala scored first in the final, with Robbie Irvine touching down in the left corner after being released on the blind side by Rhuari Howarth. Speirs, on this occasion, notched the tricky conversion brilliantly.
Robbie Yourston replied for Jed, scoring close to the posts after Lewis Young made a cracking run up the middle into the danger area, the latter man tapping over the extra points.
Speirs was next to make the telling break, passing to Rex Jeffrey, who put Gala ahead once again, Speirs again adding the extras with the conversion to give the home side a 14-7 lead at half-time.
Jed Flyer Yourston and Young soon levelled the scores with another try and conversion and that’s how it stood until the whistle marking the end of normal time.
In extra time, the first team to score takes the win, so Gala really thought they had scored in the corner as Graham Speirs seemed to have angled his run perfectly, but Gregor Young pulled out all the stops with a fantastic try-saving tackle, rolling the Gala man into touch before he could touch the ball down.
Soon after this came the heartbreaking moment for the home crowd as their heroic captain mistimed his dropkick after being on target throughout.
It was left to that man, Lewis Young, to scamper up the touchline and score to take the win.
Jed’s route to the final was just as thrilling as their way of winning it.
They tied their colours to the mast with a 24-7 victory over Heriots, but then faced Selkirk. The Souters had a last-minute chance at 19-17 to level matters and take the tie to extra time with a conversion under the posts, but their kicker made a worse attempt than even that of Speirs.
They picked themselves up with a cracking 17-12 victory over a decent-looking Boroughmuir side, captained by former Gala player Craig Keddie, to earn their place in the final.
Young added: “We have been concentrating on our 15s side this year and we have done no sevens training whatsoever.
“So to come here and win it ... you can’t ask for better than that. It’s the good Jed spirit.”
The teams that finished second and third in their pools had another chance to gain something from proceedings, in the bowl and plate competitions.
Selkirk were victorious in the plate final, overcoming the Powerbombs by 31-14, with a sharp-looking Watsonians side – who put 52 points past a lacklustre Hawick in the pool stage – taking pride of place in the bowl final with a 27-0 thumping of Edinburgh Accies.
Pool one: Melrose 31 Edinburgh Accies 5; Melrose 24 Powerbombs 7; Accies 26 Powerbombs 21.
Pool two: Gala 36 Kelso 0; Gala 43 Peebles 7; Kelso 17 Peebles 19.
Pool three: Jed-Forest 24 Heriots 7; Jed-Forest 19 Selkirk 17; Heriots 33 Selkirk 19.
Pool four: Watsonians 10 Boroughmuir 22; Watsonians 52 Hawick 5; Boroughmuir 36 Hawick 0.
Semi-finals: Melrose 24 Gala 28; Jed-Forest 17 Boroughmuir 12.
Final: Gala 14 Jed-Forest 19 (aet).
Plate final: Powerbombs 14 Selkirk 31. Bowl final: Watsonians 27 Edinburgh Accies 0.