There were shocks aplenty at Scremerston on Saturday as Mike Ker’s Watsonians outfit launched their bid for the 2013 Kings of the Sevens title.
Berwick RFC were the hosts of this highly entertaining round four tournament and as usual there was a strong Borders presence with all the usual suspects attending. Edinburgh was represented by its university team, Watsonians and the Accies.
There was also a strong Northumberland delegation, consisting of relatively unknown quantities Morpeth and Newcastle Agrics.
The upsets began immediately.
Last year’s Kings of the Sevens champions, Jed-Forest, many people’s tip for the final, were dumped in the first round, going down 29-19 to Peebles.
Fresh from a win at their own tournament, Hawick came up against a strong Melrose team, featuring former Berwick player and current Scotland sevens international Andrew Skeen.
Hawick struck first, and made Melrose work hard, but were knocked out, eventually losing 21-12.
Watsonians were forced to make a late comeback against Morpeth, who also featured a former Berwick player, Seb Trotter, facing his former club. The last action of the tie was Watsonians’ winning try. Gala had a similar escape, requiring a late Grant Somerville touchdown to get past Selkirk.
Hosts Berwick, captained by Jack Webster, put in a strong performance against Earlston, running out easy winners at 36-5.
This win earned them a quarter-final tie against Musselburgh, who had overcome Rugby MAD, in the first round.
Tit-for-tat tries through the first half kept things interesting, before Musselburgh’s strength in possession paid off, and they put on 38 points to Berwick’s 12.
Elsewhere, in the quarters, Peebles continued to look as if they could go all the way. They cruised through to the semis, despatching Edinburgh University 34-5.
Melrose continued to put on a display of attacking rugby, but were somewhat fortunate against Edinburgh Accies, with the difference being a single try.
Melrose went on to defeat Musselburgh 33-12, with Richard Mill, Skeen and Sam Chalmers puncturing the Lothian side’s defence at will.
In the final, ’Rose came up against a Watsonians side who were showing their class, coming through against Gala and Peebles without conceding a single point.
Melrose’s efforts in the earlier rounds began to tell and they went in at half-time trailing 24-5, their try coming thanks to a 10m penalty for interference.
The Edinburgh side’s captain, Mike Ker, kept them in front with clever kicking – possession from their restarts was a feature of their play all day – and he capped off a 50-12 win with a try he made himself with two neat grubber kicks.
Watsonians’ victory takes them up to third in the 2013 Kings of the Sevens table after four events, behind Hawick and leaders Gala. See placings on page 94.