by STUART CAMERON
I always look forward to Spring for many reasons, and one of them is of course the Kings of the 7s tournament in the Borders.
The good news once again is that the jewel in the crown, the Melrose Sevens, will be broadcast live on BBC2 Scotland, but as I go to press, no sponsor has been named, but the club is still hopeful that someone will come on board to support this venture which has done so much to promote tourism in the Borders over many years.
It’s an exciting new look to the Kings of the 7s this season because no longer will we have the unpopular split which has always put the Kelso and Selkirk events adrift from the other eight rounds of the 10-round competition. Those two events have previously taken place pre-season in August before round 3 in April.
This year it’s a feast as all 10 rounds will take place between April 2nd and May 14th meaning there is a beginning, a middle and an end, and if the climax is as good as last year’s when the whole tournament went down to the very last tie of the very last round when Melrose beat Selkirk in the final, then we’re in for a treat. Indeed not only did the game go to the final tie, both teams were level at full time. We needed extra time to settle everything and it was Melrose who were victorious – an incredible achievement when you consider that four of the 10 tournaments saw Melrose struggle to field a team as their first XV squad were playing important matches.
While the media and spectators will lap up this year’s format it’s going to be very tough on the players, with three of the seven weekends having events on both Saturday and Sunday.
As usual Radio Borders will be bringing unparalleled coverage of all 10 events in live programmes – totally unique to broadcasting in the UK – led by Stuart McCulloch while Borders Rugby Television will be bringing highlights of the Finals of most of the events.
Here are the dates – for more information check out our 7s pages at our website at www.BordersRugby.net
Sat 2 April – Gala
Sat 9 April – Melrose
Sat 16 April – Hawick
Sun 17 April – Berwick
Sat 23 April – Langholm
Sun 24 April – Peebles
Sat 30 April – Kelso
Sun 1 May – Earlston
Sat 7 May – Selkirk
Sat 14 May – Jedforest