Kings of 7s champions Melrose conclude campaign with third tournament victory at Selkirk
Victory in the tenth and last round of the latest circuit at Philiphaugh left Melrose 18 points clear of Gala at the top of the leaderboard, on 65 points, after winning three rounds, at Kelso and Jed-Forest prior to Saturday, and ending up as beaten finalists twice, as well as going out at the semi-final stage three times and in the last eight twice.
That’s Melrose’s ninth win overall – confirming their status as the most successful club in the 29-year history of the competition, with three more titles than second-placed Jed – and their first since 2014.
Team captain Struan Hutchison was delighted to see the Greenyards side claim their first Selkirk Sevens victory for six years and their first overall title for just short of a decade, telling Borders Rugby TV: “Melrose take sevens seriously and to get that first Kings of the 7s for nine years was just a massive relief.
“Those first three tournaments at the start of the season are quite important – at Peebles, Hawick and Gala – and we went fairly well then and that gives you a good number of points going into April and May.
“At Melrose we didn’t do too well but then we just picked up points from the following tournaments.
“The double-header was a criticial weekend, getting our first tournament win at Kelso and then getting to a semi-final at Earlston, and we’ve just kicked on from there.
“I think we’ve grown in confidence and the buy-in at training’s been spot on. The guys work hard for each other and the coaches have been spot on.
“It’s been a massive effort and we’re just so thrilled to get the reward for the effort that everyone’s put in.”
Melrose got to Saturday’s 26-7 final victory against Gala by beating a president’s VII 45-7 in round one, Hawick 24-14 in the quarter-finals and Edinburgh Academicals 12-7 in the semis.
Four-times overall winners Gala’s route to the final was a 35-10 first-round knockout of Musselburgh, 22-19 win against Jed in the last eight and 26-24 victory over Edinburgh’s Watsonians in the semis.
Selkirk and Kelso also made it to the quarter-finals, the former losing 33-19 to Watsonians after knocking out Linlithgow 47-0 in round one and the latter being seen off 34-0 by Accies after a 26-20 opening-round win against an Aberdeen University side.
Saturday’s first round also saw Jed beating Langholm 35-7, Peebles losing 24-17 to Watsonians, Hawick getting the better of Earlston by 45-0 and Berwick defeated 33-15 by Accies.
Accies finish the 2022/23 campaign in third place on 39 points, Watsonians fourth on 34, Kelso fifth on 32, Jed sixth on 30, Selkirk seventh on 27, Hawick eighth on 25, Peebles ninth on 19 and Berwick bottom on 10.
The next Kings of the 7s season starts at the Gytes in Peebles on Saturday, August 5, as part of a three-day festival also including under-16s, colts and women’s tournaments.