No Melrose Sevens for first time since the war as club bow to the inevitable

Only seventh missed year from 1883 for famous event due to the Covid pandemic
Melrose planned their  biggest Sevens ever this year,  but will now have to wait until 2021. Picture: SNS.Melrose planned their  biggest Sevens ever this year,  but will now have to wait until 2021. Picture: SNS.
Melrose planned their biggest Sevens ever this year, but will now have to wait until 2021. Picture: SNS.

For the first time since the Second World War there will be no Melrose Sevens this year as the club bows to the inevitable of the coronavirus crisis.

Initially due to be held between 9-12 April there were grand plans for a four-day festival of the abbreviated game that was invented in the town, with a full women’s event and a concert by the Scottish rock band Big Country.

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When the Covid-19 pandemic struck the event was postponed with the hope of being rescheduled for later in the year but that is clearly no longer possible.

Since local butcher Ned Haig, pictured, launched the first ever Sevens tournament to help raise funds for the club in 1883 there have only been six cancellations of the Melrose Sevens, all due to world wars.

Organisers of the world-famous event are understandably devastated but believe everyone will understand the decision has been made for the right reasons.

Melrose Sevens tournament director Phil Morris said: “When we postponed the Melrose Sevens at the start of the coronavirus outbreak, we had hoped to be able to reschedule to another date later this year. However, as time has gone by it has become clear to us, and I’m sure to everyone else too, that the responsible decision is to cancel.

“There is no doubt that coronavirus has had a huge impact on the club’s finances and the cancellation of the Sevens will also have a materially negative effect. “Had it not been for the SRUs Hardship Fund, various grants, the government furlough scheme, and the generosity of our sponsors and volunteers, Melrose Rugby would be in a precarious position.

“As it stands, with everyone’s continuing support, we’ll come through this exceptionally challenging year a bit battered and bruised, but intact. We are forever grateful to those organisations that have stepped in with a lifeline.”

Melrose Rugby Ltd said it will shortly be contacting everyone who had purchased a ticket for this year’s event with three options and full details of what to do. The first option appeals to the rugby family spirit and is described as a “recovery donation” which will be used to safeguard jobs and help Melrose recuperate from the extended loss of income.

The second option is to simply roll over your ticket to the 2021 Melrose Sevens on a like-for-like basis.

The third option is a full refund.

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Morris added: “We hope there will be a lot of people who will take up the donation and roll-over options. These two options will certainly help secure the future of this historic club. However, we fully recognise that some people may be struggling financially at this time, so it is only right that we offer the option of a full refund too.

“Now the hard work starts in earnest to put on a celebratory Melrose Sevens Returns event for 2021. The dates for next year will be Thursday 8 to Sunday 11 April. It will be the same format as was confirmed for 2020. We even have Big Country secured again for the finale concert, so anyone who has already bought a ticket for this year’s cancelled Sevens is guaranteed their place at what will undoubtedly be a high-demand event. “Tickets for the 2021 Melrose Sevens will go on general sale later this year, after everyone who wishes to roll-over their 2020 tickets have been processed.”

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