Players for the Tennent’s National League Division 2 side’s second string beat Hawick Linden 36-10 in Saturday’s final to become the first team from their home-town to win overall at their hosts’ Caberston Haugh home ground since 2014.
Peebles, beaten 52-5 by Melrose Storm in 2019’s final, saw off Gala YM 24-14 that time round.
Peebles’ seconds beat Penicuik 24-5, Linden 7-5 and Edinburgh’s Lismore 21-14 in their pool to get to the semi-finals, seeing off their hosts 45-15 at that stage to earn their place in the final.
Linden’s route to the final, besides their defeat by Peebles early on, consisted of pool wins against Lismore by 12-5 and Penicuik by 26-15 and a 22-12 semi-final victory against Earlston.
Walkerburn beat a president’s VII 33-5 and lost 24-21 to Earlston, as well as, like Earlston, being awarded a 28-0 win against a no-show makeshift side intended to be fielded following a late withdrawal by Leith, on their way to the semis.
Earlston’s other pool game was a 22-5 win against the president’s VII.
Linden’s appearance in the final at Walkerburn was the first in their 101-year history.
The last representatives of their home-town to win the tournament, not part of the Kings of the 7s contest decided by Jed-Forest’s victory at Selkirk that same day, were a Hawick A team in 2007.
The hosts themselves have to look even further back through history for a victory on home turf, all the way to 1966. A Walkerburn select beat Trinity Accies 18-9 on that occasion, and the hosts have only made it to the final of their tournament, first held in 1911, once since, losing to the same opposition 19-5 in 1970.
Taking that history into account and the club’s troubles over recent years, including two withdrawals from regional leagues, new president Gregor Scougal was delighted to see his side make it into the semis and at the turnout attracted by the event, contested by seven teams.
“We got a good turnout. We had a good day. I think we probably had about 200 or 300 there,” he said. “It was nice to have a big crowd there again after quite a while of not having anybody around.
“It’s definitely got interest out there again, so one thing we’ve got to do now is keep that interest going.”