GALA were in touching distance of the Peebles Sevens title on Saturday, but a spirited comeback from Watsonians ensured it was they who kicked off the Kings of the Sevens series with a win.

There were a few changes in the squad and in the format (a pool system), but the Edinburgh side managed to clinch the trophy with a 31-14 victory in the final.

Despite the loss, Gala coach Peter Dods was full of praise for his squad.
He said: “I was really pleased with the response we got from the players. They are really fit and did Gala proud.

“Everybody here [in all teams] set their standards. Ours are high and we need to go on and set them higher now.”

The city side had also scored three quick tries to beat Melrose in their semi-final on an afternoon where they improved with every tie. And proud coach Andrew Ker said the tournament was excellent preparation for the 15s season.

“Winning is a good habit to get into,” he said. 

“With the squad we had, we did well to get to the final – and we just kept going. Thursday night was the first time we had practised at sevens, and like all teams taking part, we were in the same boat. They are concentrating on getting ready for the 15s. Sevens are a great way to get fit, and I think we need more than one at this time of the year.”

It was no surprise, too, that the media voted Ali Harris the Player of the Tournament.

Gala swept into a 14-0 lead in the final with two tries from Rex Jeffrey and Craig Russell and conversions by Graham Speirs.

But Watsonians hit back with two scores from ex-Gala player Keith Young and a treble from Ewan McKirdy with Harris hitting the target with his goal-kicking.

Earlier Gala had defeated Berwick, Selkirk and Edinburgh Accies while Watsonians, who also fielded a second former Gala player, Craig Borthwick, powered to wins over Biggar and Kelso before D J Innes, McKirdy and Young beat off Melrose – last year’s Peebles Sevens winners – after Bruce Colvine had helped Melrose into a 21-5 lead.

Pool A: Gala 45, Berwick 0; Selkirk 35, Berwick 12; Gala 47, Selkirk 5.
Pool B: Peebles 29, Earlston 12; Earlston 7, Edinburgh Accies 43; Peebles 7, Edinburgh Accies 38.
Pool C: Watsonians 26, Biggar 0; Biggar 5, Kelso 12; Watsonians 38, Kelso 12.
Pool D: Melrose 14, Hawick 14; Hawick 10, Jed-Forest 29; Melrose 19, Jed-Forest 12.
Semi-finals: Gala 26, Edinburgh Accies 5; Watsonians 26, Melrose 21.
Final: Gala 14, Watsonians 31.
Gala: A. Emond, S. Wilkinson, S. Cairns, C. Russell, G. Speirs, R. Jeffrey, D. Nicholson, R. Tod, C. Hancock, J. Turnbull.
Watsonians: C. Borthwick, D. J. Innes, E. McKirdy, J. Ferguson, A. Harris, E. Fox, S. McKean, K. Young, G. Tait, G. Nelson.