VICTORY for either Melrose or Kelso would have been a dream come true

at the Greenyards on Saturday. Each had a special reason to win the

Bell's Islander Melrose sevens, but Randwick had no place for sentiment

in becoming the first Southern Hemisphere winners of the short game's

oldest tournament.

As Australians, they were forceful and direct. Their rugby had the

same elements on an uncharacteristic Melrose day, with a sharp wind and

heavy showers touched with sleet.

Randwick edged past Melrose to win their semi-final by 16-15 with a

last-minute try by David Campese, his third of the tie. No-one else in

the tournament would have had the pace and verve to squeeze in at the

right corner to deny the hosts, and the Sydney club then swept Kelso

aside for a 26-8 win in the final.

Melrose, so used to being on top this season, had been aiming to add

their own trophy to the national championship and the Border League. It

would have been all the more fitting when this was the hundredth version

of abbreviated rugby's original tournament at the Greenyards 107 years

ago, and as Craig Redpath suggested, the youngsters in the team wanted

to win all the more for the sake of their father figure, Keith


A Kelso win would have been just as appropriate. They have been the

dominant force in the Border sevens for more than a decade, and not only

was this their eleventh Melrose final in 13 years, but it was to be the

last for Andrew Ker, perhaps also for Eric Paxton.

Ker leaves Kelso at the end of this season after 18 faithful years of

commuting back to his home town -- first from Glasgow, and then from

Edinburgh -- and in that time, no-one has been more influential in

Scottish seven-a-side rugby. Over those years, Kelso have not won a

senior tournament without Ker at stand-off. Seven of those successes

have been at the Greenyards.

In recognition of Ker's contribution, the club have arranged to

display all of his hundred and more medals at Poynder Park on Friday,

May 11. How many has he? No-one will be certain until Ker collects them,

and counts these memorabilia of an era of Border rugby that is about to


Gavin Boneham was Randwick's principal ball-winner at lineout and

restart, Mark Ella and Acrua Niuqila relished the ample provisions, and

John Maxwell, as captain and coach, was a subtle, almost unobtrusive

orchestrator. Most of all, however, the Australians had the threatening

presence of David Campese.

Whether lying wide or rallying in retreat, Campese was the spearhead.

An inch of space to run was gleefully accepted, and over the tournament,

he scored 46 points, with seven tries and nine conversions, including

all of Randwick's points against Melrose.

Robertson, striking with typically sudden acceleration, responded to

Campese's first try by beating Lloyd Walker to run in his fifth try of

the afernoon, and bullish determination procured the Andy Purves try

with which Melrose equalised the second time.

Craig Chalmers converted both tries, and then, as in the quarter-final

against Harlequins, the stand-off kicked a penalty goal. Harlequins had

led by 12-0 at half-time against Melrose, but a Robertson try sparked

the hosts' recovery off Carl Hogg's tapped penalty. Hogg then deflected

the restart kick, Redpath linked, and Chalmers cut through for an Andy

Purves try.

Chalmers converted both, and when John Eagle, caught by Robertson,

deliberately threw into touch, the stand-off kicked the goal from well

out on the left. Harlequins had no time left to recover.

Randwick, however, exploited a quick penalty against Melrose for

Campese to dive over in a Purves tackle. Randwick lost Walker (injured

against Melrose) and Niuqila (stretchered off with a cracked ankle bone

late in the final's first half), but Walker's deputy, John Flett, wasted

no time in joining the action, running away for a try in the first

minute against Kelso.

Paxton replied for 4-6 after Ker had been denied on the goal-line, but

a Campese try countered the John Jeffrey kick and chase in which Niuqila

was hurt. By then, Kelso legs looked tired, and the Borderers also were

without their strong, sharp scrum half, Bob Hogarth, injured in the

quarter-final against London Scottish.

Ella put Boneham away for the opening try of the second half, Clive

Millar replied from a Campese fumble, and Randwick finished comfortably

with Flett's second try and one by Michael Cheika. Campese converted two

and Ella one.

Melrose not only had close ties against their guests but they were

also taken to extra time by Ayr, last season's beaten finalists. Ayr

pulled back from 6-16 with two Phil Manning tries, the second from

Robbie Kemp's break from his own line, before Hogg's interception let

Redpath in for his second try of the game. Results:-

First round -- Jed-Forest 20, Stirling County 10; Kelso 26, Gala 0;

Glasgow High/Kelvinside 12, Langholm 10; Melrose 22, Watsonians 6.

Second round -- Hawick 12, Jed 6; Stewart's Melville FP 14, Racing Club

de France 8; Kelso 24, Selkirk 6; London Scottish 24, Heriot's FP 16;

Edinburgh Academicals 28, GHK 8; Randwick 30, Glasgow Academicals 0;

Melrose 20, Ayr 16 (after extra time); Harlequins 28, Boroughmuir 10.

Quarter-finals -- Hawick 18, Stewart's Melville 0; Kelso 12, London

Scottish 8; Randwick 20, Edinburgh Academicals 6; Melrose 15, Harlequins

12. Semi-finals -- Kelso 22, Hawick 4; Randwick 16, Melrose 15. Final --

Randwick 26, Kelso 8.

Randwick -- D I Campese, J Flett; A Niuqila, M Ella; M Cheika, J

Maxwell, G Boneham. Replacement -- D Phillips for Niuqila (half-time).

Kelso -- D R Robeson, S Wichary; A B M Ker, P S Dunkley; R E Paxton, C

Millar, J Jeffrey.

JED-FOREST open the defence of the Hawick sevens trophy with a tie

against Langholm at Mansfield Park on Saturday. The draw (first tie 2pm)

is: Gala v Heriot's FP, Hawick v Edinburgh Academicals, Stewart's

Melville FP v Kelso, Jed-Forest v Langholm, Glasgow Academicals v

Boroughmuir, Melrose v Selkirk, Watsonians v Ayr, Wakefield v Glasgow