Hawick lifted the Scott Cup at the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Langholm Sevens when they defeated Gala in an action-packed final at Milntown by 24-19.
There were thrills from both sides, not only in attack, but also in defence, with crunching tackles in what was simply a tremendous Borders tussle.
Gala forged into an early lead through David O’Hagan and Craig Dods added the extras. John Coutts and Lee Armstrong hit back for Hawick and the latter had one conversion to put the Greens 12-7 ahead at the break.
As play swept back and forth James Parker dashed over, and another from George Graham plus a Dods conversion put Gala 19-12 in front. Coutts and Armstrong, who also had a conversion, edged Hawick back into the lead in the closing stages, and the Greens players danced for joy as they cleared to touch on the final whistle.
Hawick coach Nikki Walker was delighted with the win and told The Southern: “I had been quietly confident that we would do well today as we had a strong sevens squad out there. As soon as the cup final was out of the way I was able to concentrate the training sessions on the sevens. The boys dictated in most of the ties and we were able to rotate the squad to keep them as fresh as possible.”
Both semi-finals provided plenty excitement, with a strong Gala line-up that had easily advanced at the expense of the Pigbarians and Kelso, having to work hard to get the better of a Melrose side that had most of their top players away on Premiership final play-off duty. Gala got on top in the second half to win 26-10. Melrose had previously edged out Peebles then Selkirk in tight ties. In the other semi Hawick led Jed by only 12-7 at the turn, but eventually went through on a 4-2 try count. Jed just could not get enough ball to the flying Young twins, but Lewis still managed a brace of tries. Hawick had an easy time in the early rounds with wins over Dumfries and the Select side. Jed showed fine form to knock out Watsonians and then put paid to Langholm, who showed plenty of spirit, but were caught out for pace.
After a wet and chilly morning it cleared out into a fine sunny afternoon with the Milntown pitch in perfect condition.
Kenneth Pool,the rugby chairman and EWM representative, presented the cup to Rory Hutton. Avril Grieve, the daughter of the late Archie Smith, presented the cup in his memory to the Player of the Tournament Lee Armstrong of Hawick, who was chosen by the referees.
Although beaten in the final, Gala stretched their lead in the Kings of the Sevens table.
Hawick: R. Scott, K. Davies, M. Robertson, G. Cottrel, R. Hutton, J. Coutts, L. Armstrong, S. Fairbairn, S. Goodfellow, M. Douglas.
Gala: A. Emond, G. Graham, S. Wilkinson, C. Dods, G. Hunter, G. Speirs, J. Parker, F. Hunter, C. Robertson, D. O’Hagan.