Selkirk host the ninth and penultimate round of the Kings of the Sevens today at Philiphaugh with Melrose already having claimed the title.

The other podium places have yet to be decided, though, and, with the challengers closely bunched, there is much to play for at Philiphaugh.

Only four points separate the teams in second and fifth places in the standings after eight rounds and there is, too, the possibility that sixth-placed Selkirk could come into contention by repeating their Philiphaugh success of last season. Gala, runners-up at Earlston on Sunday, lead the charge for second place and, with Langholm as first-round opponents, and a probable quarter final against a Jed-Forest side that has misfired this season, they should reach the semi-final. Thereafter, they could face Melrose, unless Ayr, who offer a west coast challenge along with Glasgow Hawks, can reproduce the form they showed at the Greenyards in which case there could be a refreshingly different finish to the tournament.

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Melrose may have been crowned after round seven of the series at Poynder Park last weekend, and have accumulated a record points total of 68, but they remain hungry for success as their coach, John Dalziel, confirmed. He said: "We're looking for as many milestones to pass as we can: we've broken the points record; we've won six of the eight tournaments. If you can get eight in the modern era it would be quite an achievement. And the boys love their sevens."

The top half of the draw could be just as intense, particularly the second tie between Hawick and Watsonians and one after it between Glasgow Hawks and Heriot's. Hawick and Watsonians are joint third in the overall standings but that will change after today. Hawks and Heriot's will bring colour and quality to the tournament , and what looks to be a likely meeting with host Selkirk in the quarter-final for the winning city club could be the tie to light up Philiphaugh.


Selkirk Sevens. Rd 1 Edinburgh Accies v Kelso, Hawick v Watsonians, Glasgow Hawks v Heriot's, Selkirk v Berwick, Ayr v Stewart's-Melville, Melrose v Peebles, Jed-Forest v Falkirk, Gala v Langholm

Standings (after 8 of 9 tournaments) 1 Melrose 68pts, 2 Gala 33, 3= Hawick & Watsonians 31, 5 Edinburgh Accies 29, 6 Selkirk 24, 7 Jed-Forest 18, 8 Peebles 14, 9 Kelso 12