Gather round for sizzling end to the season

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ANOTHER weekend and another couple of trophies for the cabinet at The Greenyards.

After lifting the trophy at Kelso on Saturday the squad was back again to collect the Earlston silverware, and more importantly, a maximum 20 points to take them to within two points of Jed-Forest in the Kings of the Sevens table.

Jed are on 50, Melrose have 48 and Selkirk are on 40. It’s still a three-horse race, but on this form it is hard to see Melrose dropping points at the final two tournaments at Philiphaugh and Riverside Park.

Great crowds gathered at The Haugh on Sunday for the 81st Rutherford SEAT Earlston Sevens and a party atmosphere was in the air as supporters enjoyed a glorious afternoon of sunshine and looked forward to a bank holiday the following day.

Melrose, however, were putting the festivities on hold as they continued their assault on the Kings tournament.

As at Kelso, they didn’t seem to move out of second gear on their way to the final.

They beat Duns 24-7 in round one and hosts Earlston 24-12 in the quarter-final but, even after allowing their opponents’ supporters to have something to cheer about as both took the lead early on, it was business as usual as Melrose regained control with seeming ease in both ties.

They stepped up into third gear in the semi-final to knock out Hawick – who had a good tournament despite most of their first choice players not being available – by 31-19.

There were shocks early on as leaders Jed seemed to be feeling the effects of their final defeat the previous day as they only got through against Hawick YM in extra time 24-19 to claim three points before exiting against Watsonians.

The city side saw off Selkirk in the semi-final 22-19 with a last-minute penalty, but they were blown away 35-7 in the first half of the final as Melrose lit the after-burners.

Tries from Jamie Murray (2), Callum Anderson, Allan Dodds and John Dalziel were all converted by Scott Wight to leave a healthy half-time lead.

Scotland sevens cap Andrew Skeen added a try and conversion late on in the half for Watsonians, but tiredness was evident in their legs.

In the second half Melrose were content with just one try and played a passing game amongst themselves for most of it. Skeen added a second late on before the whistle sounded with the score sitting at 42-12 for the Greenyards men.

Allan Dodds won the player of the tournament last season at this event and he was given the honour again this year with a splendid try-scoring performance.

He told TheSouthern: “It’s been a long, long season and a long weekend, but winning here again today was just brilliant.

“It’s good to win the player of the tournament, but I think we are playing really well as a team at the moment and really coming through for each other, which is good to see.”