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Never-say-die Melrose secure eighth title

Melrose showed why they were worthy recipients of the Kings of the Sevens title by winning their eighth title this season in the last of the 10 rounds that make up the competition with victory over the hosts in the Jed-Forest tournament at Riverside on Saturday.

What has given Melrose such remarkable success this season is undoubtedly their experience throughout the team. That experience ranges from Scotland sevens players, Callum Anderson and playmaker Andrew Skeen to hardened club players such as Richard Mill. Crucially, several of the Melrose players train at Murrayfield with the Scotland squad, giving the Greenyards men insight into specific conditioning, defence patterns and subtle variations in attack.

But according to Skeen there is another vital factor that has contributed to the Melrose dominance. He said : "It's been about heart and determination to keep going. There's been so many times when we've been on the floor and we should have lost but somehow someone gets back and makes the tackle and someone gets back and steals the ball. We should never have won last week at Selkirk. We just fight to the absolute end".

With an eye to the future, Melrose coach John Dalziel, himself a Scotland sevens cap, has brought in several young players, who could well figure in XVs rugby next season. Among them are scrum-half Tom Wilson, who has been a huge success, and utility back David Colvine.

Second-place finishers Gala have also blooded several young players, the most successful of whom is their Scotland Under-18 cap Ruairi Howarth, a possible choice at stand-off next season. Others who have enhanced their XVs futures through sevens rugby are full- back Craig Dods, pacy winger James Parker and young centre Keith Young.

What gave this season's Kings of the Sevens competition extra interest was the total involvement of Edinburgh Accies and Watsonians, both of whom where in contention for a second finishing place right up to the 10th tournament.

Details Hamilton 15 Selkirk 26, Berwick 14 Jed-Forest 27, Heriot's 17 Hawick 12, Watsonians 14 Gala 22, Edinburgh Univ 17 Kelso 24, Stewart's-Melville 7 Melrose 21, Musselburgh 35 Langholm 7, Edinburgh Accies 26 Peebles 7

Quarter-finals Selkirk 7 Jed-Forest 24, Heriot's 12 Gala 33, Kelso 10 Melrose 17, Musselburgh 14 Edinburgh Accies 31

Semi-finals Jed-Forest 17 Gala 14, Melrose 19 Edinburgh Accies 5

Final Jed-Forest 5 Melrose 24

Final positions (after ten rounds): 1 Melrose 88pts, 2 Gala 43, 3 Edinburgh Accies 39, 4= Selkirk and Hawick 34, 6 Watsonians 31

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