Melrose’s rugby sevens tournament postponed but not called off altogether yet

Melrose’s rugby sevens tournament has been postponed for the second year running due to coronavirus restrictions, but its organisers haven’t yet abandoned hope of being able to stage it at a later date this year.

Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 6:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 6:55 pm
Action from 2019's Melrose sevens. Photo: Bill McBurnie

The event, intended to be part of a four-day festival beginning on Thursday, April 8, is on hold for now, but no alternative date is being pencilled in until the lockdown-easing currently getting under way reaches a more advanced stage.

A spokesperson for the Greenyards rugby club said: “It will come as no shock that the Melrose sevens will not be going ahead in April this year due to ongoing health and safety concerns.

“We are looking at the possibility of alternative arrangements later in the year, but, as I’m sure you will understand, we can’t confirm any dates or plans until there is clear government guidance and more certainty.

Hawick playing Edinburgh's Boroughmuir at 2019's Melrose sevens. Photo: Bill McBurnie

“We’re really disappointed, but there’s just no way we can safely host the event given the current restrictions.

“All tickets purchased for the cancelled 2020 Melrose sevens will, of course, remain valid for our return event.”

If it does end up being cancelled altogether, it will be only the second time since the Second World War, last year’s being the first.

Melrose’s sevens have only been called off seven times since the first was organised by town butcher Ned Haig in 1883, all of those cancellations, prior to 2020, being because of the two world wars from 1914 to 1918 and 1939 to 1945.

Another game at 2019's Melrose sevens. Photo: Bill McBurnie

Last year's event, due to have taken place three weeks after the UK went into lockdown for the first time, was initially just postponed in the hope that the coronavirus pandemic would be brought under control prior to the end of last summer but its organisers had to concede defeat three months later and scrap it altogether.

So far this year, Langholm and Earlston’s sevens have been called off, but those at Hawick, Galashiels and Peebles are provisionally lined up to take place in August.