Teries reigned supreme at Hawick Sevens on Sunday, claiming their own tournament title for the seventh time in eight years.
Switched to a May Sunday rather than the usual April slot after the Robbie Dyes reached the BT Cup final, club organisers had worked flat-out all week in order to put on a show as close to the traditional event as possible – and those who braved the cold and damp conditions weren’t disappointed.
“The weather was an issue and the crowd wasn’t what we had hoped, but for those who made it out it was a great afternoon with some cracking ties, and to see the boys lift the trophy was a great result,” said Hawick vice-president John Thornburn.
The Robbie Dyes sailed through the first and second rounds with ease, passing Langholm (39-0) and Berwick (32-10) before fronting up manfully to a Gala side in a utterly dominant semi-final performance.
After folding meekly 33-12 to their Maroon rivals at the same stage of the Selkirk event 24 hours earlier (see report on pages 78 and 79), the Teri faithful were treated to an attacking masterclass as the Greens turned their surprise superiority into a comfortable six-tries-to-one victory.
Leading 14-7 at half-time following touchdowns from Sean Goodfellow and Lee Armstrong, the latter converting both, the Greens exploded in the second period, disposing of Gala in convincing fashion. A second Armstrong five-pointer was followed by tries from John Coutts and Darcy Graham, whose score could go down as try of the series – a coast-to-coast effort involving a cross-field kick, deft chip-and-chase and brilliant pass, allowing the Scotland U18 star to score.
Goodfellow capped the one-sided tie with the final try to confirm the 42-7 victory and set-up a showdown against reigning Hawick Sevens title holders Melrose after the Greenyards outfit had navigated tricky matches against Kelso (21-12), Selkirk (40-0) and Watsonians (24-21).
Elsewhere, Hawick YM proved they were not included in this year’s event simply as cannon fodder for the bigger sides by dominating their first-round opponents Lasswade 20 points to 12 before bowing out against Gala 46-0 in the quarter-finals. Peebles were edged 12-17 by Biggar, while Selkirk dominated 1Scots 34-0. Edinburgh sides Watsonians and Accies also lost out in tight semi-final and round one ties against Jed-Forest respectively.
In the final, the hosts stormed into a 26-0 lead, touchdowns via Keith Davies, Greg Cottrell and a brace from Armstrong, the full-back kicking three conversions. Melrose kick-started what would become a miraculous fightback through a lung-busting effort from Richard Mill, who converted his own try.
Goodfellow restored Hawick’s 24-point advantage, but three further scores in as many minutes from Austin Lockington, Ross Miller and Robbie Charlmers, all converted by Lockington, turned the final from what had previously looked like a forgone conclusion into a thrilling end-to-end contest. Melrose kept pushing, but with 90 seconds remaining and against such a determined Hawick defence, the Greenyards men failed to produce the winning score as the Robbie Dyes held to claim their seventh home title in eight years.
“We were determined and I think as every home side throughout the entire Kings circuit has shown, the goal is always to win your home tournament,” said Hawick’s Matty Douglas who began the day with Langholm before being drafted into the Greens squad as injury cover.