A Borders hostelry has come forward among scores of other pubs and bars across the UK to be voted among the nation’s best rugby pubs.
Queenshead Hotel in Kelso has made it to the finals of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Melrose Sevens rugby pub of the year competition.
It faces opposition from Edinburgh and from south of the border, with the reigning title holder, the Merchants Inn (appropriately in Rugby) back in contention.
A special atmosphere appears to be what rugby lovers want from their local watering hole – as it’s the one thing that all the shortlisted venues have in common.
But which one will rise up to take the title of Aberdeen Standard Investments Melrose Sevens rugby pub of the year 2019?
It’s over to rugby fans to choose the winner by voting in a poll on social media.
Douglas Hardie, president of Melrose Rugby Club, said: “We launched this competition last year and it generated a fantastic response but there have been even more entries this time round.
“It just goes to show how much rugby fans appreciate their local pubs and clubs pulling out all the stops to make match days special.
“Rugby fans all over the country have told us what they love about their locals and, now that entries have been whittled down to a shortlist, it’s over to the public to choose the one that deserves to win the award.”
Customers who have given the Queenshead Hotel a try have left comments like: “Great food,drink and banter. Best cod and chips I have had ever anywhere bar none!”
The other shortlisted venues are the Queen’s Arms in Edinburgh, the Merchants Inn, Rugby, and the Sup & Chow in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
Voting is free and easy – choose your winner by completing the simple voting form at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/bestrugbypub2019
Or on the Melrose Sevens social media at Facebook at www.facebook.com/melrose7s, Twitter @melrose7s
The winner will be announced later this month. The pub which gains the most votes will receive the coveted title and an inscribed plaque to recognise the achievement.
Last year, the Buccleuch Arms Hotel in St Boswells was in the running, before losing out to the Merchant Inn.
The Warwickshire pub’s manager, James Reeve, said the win gave the venue an unexpected boost. “First up, it was a massive shock, but also an honour, to win this competition, as we were up against some of the best in the business. We would love to retain the title but we know the competition will be tough.”
The Aberdeen Standard Investments Melrose Sevens takes place on Saturday, April 13 and is a great day out for families, couples and rugby fans who enjoy fast and exhilarating sporting action.
Clubs from across Scotland will be competing against each other this year, alongside international teams from England, South Africa and USA, for their chance to win the Aberdeen Standard Investments Melrose Sevens Ladies Cup.
If you can’t make it to Melrose, watch BBC coverage through BBC Scotland, which is available outside Scotland on Freesat, Sky and Virgin Media.
For more information, and to book tickets, visit www.melrose7s.com. Keep up to date with the action on Facebook at www.facebook.com/melrose7s, Twitter @melrose7s and Instagram @melrose7s.