Victory for the hosts and an appearance by local lad Ryan Mania on the day he won the Grand National certainly made last year’s Gala Sevens a Five Star event.
And the Netherdale club are hoping this year’s 123rd tournament, on Saturday, proves just as exciting as 12 teams get ready to kick off the 2014 Kings of the Sevens series.
Proving very popular last year among both teams and spectators, the pool format continues this time around with each side being guaranteed at least three games and the prospect of progressing in either the Cup, Plate or Bowl semi-finals and finals.
Gala began making changes to the format of their tournament two season’s ago in order to answer some of the shortcomings of the straight knock-out system, and organisers believe they have now found a winning formula.
“The club is very pleased with this format and have had great feedback from participating teams,” said Sevens convener Colin Playfair.
“Since we have changed to this type of tournament the attendance has risen every year and we are hoping for the same this year. Last year we had good weather, a home victory and a Gala man winning the Grand National on the same day, so the same this Saturday would do nicely.”
Continued sponsorship from local firm Five Star Taxis has also proved to be a winner.
“We are very pleased that Five Star Taxis have sponsored this tournament for the third year running,” added Playfair.
“Like in every club, the sevens tournament brings the biggest income in a season so it’s crucial that we get the format and sponsorship spot on.”
Kate Niven, from Five Star Taxis added: “We are a rugby family and this is our home town so, for us, it’s all about putting something back into the community.
“We thoroughly enjoyed last year’s event and are looking forward to Saturday.”
Teams have been drawn into four pools of three, with the top sides from the four sections going into the Cup semis, the runners-up in each pool progress to the Plate semi-finals and the third from each will make up the Bowl semi-finalists.
The finals of each competition will be played under lights, while the semi-finals of the Plate and Bowl will take place on the back pitches.
Action starts at 3pm with a floodlit final scheduled for 7.15pm.
Refreshments and entertainment all day.
Evening entertainment will be in the Centenary Lounge – free admission after the final.
l More on the 2014 Kings of the Sevens series on page 96.
Gala v Boroughmuir
Gala v Selkirk
Boroughmuir v Selkirk
Melrose v Peebles
Melrose v Jedforest
Peebles v Jedforest
Watsonians v Kelso
Watsonians v Glasgow Hawks
Kelso v Glasgow Hawks
Heriot’s v Hawick
Heriot’s v Edin Accies
Hawick v Edin Accies