Competition captures spirit of community and Borders rugby

Hosts Gala in action against Langholm in last year's 7s event at Netherdale (picture by Alwyn Johnston).
Hosts Gala in action against Langholm in last year's 7s event at Netherdale (picture by Alwyn Johnston).

Enjoy a good day out, hopefully in dry weather, and savour the unique flavour of a family sporting occasion and a rich rugby experience.

Those are the aspirations for this Sunday as the 2018 Kinigs of the Sevens tournament picks up again, with Gala hosting the day’s spectacular at Netherdale.

The best of the Borders line-ups will be taking the field alongside other guest clubs, hopefully to concoct a memorable day of rugby action and entertainment.

Gala club president Bob Sneddon said the day was aimed at the general public and would hopefully be a great occasion.

“We have a quite a high standard of clubs this year,” he said. “We have Heriot’s, who’ve been absent in the past. Powerballs, the charity side, always have a strong side, and we’re looking forward to a good tournament.

“Gala have some good, fast laddies and we have been good in the backs this season, so, hopefully, it will all go well.”

Such a Borders serving of rugby, said Sneddon, was for everybody.

“We’ll have all the usual facilities – the bar is always an enticement to a lot of people,” he added. “It’s a sports day and it’s a day out. There are devoted rugby followers but there are also people who are there for the day out. They enjoy the beer and they enjoy the rugby in the background.

“It’s for all types – it’s a day out for everybody. It’s a wee bit more informal and it gets all the people from the Borders clubs together for a day.”

The host club will be coming in to the action after a formidable XVs game on Saturday in BT National League Division One, at home to Jed-Forest.

The Riversiders are perched on the shoulders of runaway leaders Edinburgh Accies and a very strong bet for at least a Premiership promotion play-off place, while Gala, who came down from the top flight last season, would appear resigned to a mid-table finish.

Sneddon anticipated a very hard game, noting that Jed would be desperate to secure a bonus-point victory with a high points total.

“I wish Jed all the best in the league but, in all honesty, I don’t want them to do too well on Saturday,” he quipped.

Gala won their first six matches of this season’s league campaign, indicating early on they might fulfil the president’s forecast of a straight return to the Premiership.

Unfortunately, injuries began to bite and, without a depth to the squad, a number of games were lost.

However, Sneddon reckoned there would be a finish halfway up the table, followed a period of rebuilding and consolidation, and people would see a “massive difference” next year in Gala.

Draw for Sunday, April 1 (2pm start):

Pool 1 – Melrose, Edinburgh Accies, Powerbombs. Pool 2 – Gala, Kelso, Peebles.

Pool 3 – Heriot’s, Jed-
Forest, Selkirk. Pool 4 – Watsonians, Boroughmuir, Hawick.