Win for leaders Jed as Kings contest reaches closing stages
With two rounds of the competition remaining, Kings of the Seven pacesetters Jed-Forest have opened up a seven-point lead at the top.
Jed consolidated their advantage over nearest rivals Watsonians after winning the 86th Earlston tournament on Sunday.
The victory, only their second success in the Kings competition this season, atoned for their early exit at Kelso on Saturday, when they lost in the first round to Melrose, the eventual winners at Poynder Park.
Twenty-four hours on from their Kelso triumph, Melrose arrived at The Haugh hoping to add to their six successive Earlston titles and intent on making up ground after a slow start to their Kings campaign.
But hopes of making it seven in a row were dashed when Melrose lost narrowly to the Powerbombs, a talented composite side, ironically containing three Melrose players not selected for their club’s first team.
Jed, meanwhile came through the first two rounds in the top half of the draw, barely breaking sweat as they cruised past junior clubs Berwick and Duns without conceding a score.
Then, in the first of the semi-finals, Jed overcame a feisty and skilful Selkirk side 26-17 to book their place in the final.
Watsonians, likewise, had an untroubled passage through the first two rounds and defused the Powerbomb threat 34-0 in the second semi-final.
Then, in the final, tries by twins Lewis and Gregor Young and one by Robert Hogg gave Jed a 21-0 lead.
But, when Lewis Young was binned for a high tackle, Watsonians ran in two tries by Robbie Greenhaugh.
Jed, however, added a brace by Ross Combe, Watsonians only reply a try by Euan Miller, leaving the Riverside team title winners at the Haugh.
“It was a really exciting final and probably the best on the circuit so far,” said Jed’s assistant coach, Kevin Barrie.
“Selkirk gave us a good test in the semi-final. We knew it wouldn’t be easy against Watsonians because they’ve beaten us three out of the last four times we’ve met. So it was good to get that result.
“When you’re playing two sevens every weekend, it’s hard,” he added. “Sometimes it does take its toll and sometimes you’ve got to take a step back to go forward.”
Of the other Border sides competing, Gala went out to Powerbombs in the first round after a controversial try, hosts Earlston disposed of Peebles, Duns had a first-round win over Lasswade and Hawick went out to Selkirk in the quarter-final.
Earlston Sevens results: First round – Kelso 14, Hawick 38; Edinburgh Accies 5, Selkirk 21; Lasswade 10, Duns 36; Jed-Forest 41, Berwick 0; Melrose 41, Hawick Quins 0; Gala 5, Powerbombs 10; Earlston 22, Peebles 12; Watsonians 46, President’s Select 0. Quarter-finals – Hawick 14, Selkirk 26; Duns 0, Jed-Forest 45; Melrose 17, Powerbombs 22; Earlston 7, Watsonians 39.
Semi-finals – Selkirk 19, Jed-Forest 26; Powerbombs 0, Watsonians 34. Final – Jed-Forest 35, Watsonians 21.