Melrose made a winning start to their 2016-17 Kings of the Sevens campaign with a triumph at the Peebles tournament yesterday. They beat Watsonians 22-17 in a tense and exciting final.
Both finalists lived dangerously in the early stages. Melrose went to extra time before defeating the Jed-Forest 17-12 in a tight tie while Watsonians were pushed all the way by Selkirk in a 20-19 win.
In the quarter-finals Melrose scraped past Gala by a single score to win 10-5, and there was a similar battle for Watsonians, who edged out Hawick 19-17. The Greens had Bruce McNeil sin-binned.
Meanwhile, hosts Peebles had ignited excitement in the home support by reaching the semi-final before succumbed to a powerful second-half performance from Melrose, who won 22-5.
In the second of the semis Watsonians were matched in the first half by the select Powerbombs side. But second-half tries by Scott McKean, Euan McKean and Rory Steele saw the Myresiders through.
In the final Melrose established a 17-7 interval lead with tries by David Colvine, Ali Grieve and Fraser Thomson to a try for Watsonians by Angus Duckett. But tries by Rory Steele and Euan McKean levelled the scores. Then in injury time Melrose won it with a try from their new recruit, Ross McCann, the Scotland under-19 cap.
Results. First round: Gala 26 St Boswells 7, Jed-Forest 12 Melrose 17, Kelso 48 Earlston 7, Peebles 29 President’s VII 5, Biggar 12 Powerbombs 31, Edinburgh Accies 33 Select VII 14, Selkirk 19 Watsonians 20, Berwick 0 Hawick 55.
Quarter-final: Gala 5 Melrose 10, Kelso 19 Peebles 24, Powerbombs 24 Edinburgh Accies 7, Watsonians 19 Hawick 17.
Semi-final: Melrose 22 Peebles 5, Powerbombs 19 Watsonians 33.
Final: Melrose 22 Watsonians 17.