Sunday, November 19th, 2017
Borders teams progress to next round of Cups
On the weekend that Scotland put in a very good performance against New Zealand despite losing 17-22, some of the Borders clubs took part in the BT Cup and BT National Cup competitions, with Melrose and Hawick progressing to the quarter final stages of the BT Cup. Two local derbies meant that we would lose at least two Borders sides but equally we were guaranteed to see two others progress. Jedforest had been unbeaten at home this season in National 1 but they were facing unbeaten Melrose from the very top of the BT Premiership. Jedforest put in a marvellous effort, losing the try count 4-3, but in the end lost 35-17. Watch highlights here. Hawick and Selkirk did battle at Mansfield Park with the lead changing hands several times. In the end the Greens posted their first competitive win of the season by 38-29. Gala crashed out at Meggetland with a crushing 67-3 defeat to Boroughmuir.
In the BT National Cup, made up from the bottom six in National 1 along with the whole of National 2 and 3 clubs, Peebles, St Boswells and Kelso all made it through to the quarter finals. Peebles beat Haddington 31-15, St Boswells won away from home 27-10 at Hillhead-Jordanhill, while Kelso eventually got to grips with Howe of Fife, comfortably taking the tie 59-17.
In the East Leagues there were wins for Berwick and Hawick Harlequins on the road in EL1, while in the second division all four Borders teams who had a game won their matches. Langholm, Earlston, Gala YM and Hawick Linden claimed victories.
Friday, November 17th, 2017
Borders Rugby has its first female President
Kinta Lindsay has become the first female President of a rugby club in the Borders. The Australian has taken over the Presidency of Walkerburn RFC, and her aim is to put the club back on the map again after the Caberston Haugh-based club nearly folded in the last few years. It has been a struggle for the club which was plying its trade in East League 3 until recently. Lack of numbers has been a major issue but the seeds of recovery are there for all to see, and this season the club has put out a team playing friendly games and has had an unbeaten run. Its 7s tournament is one of the most enjoyable on the circuit and the success of that event, which now brings the curtain down at the end of the Borders rugby season, is largely responsible for keeping the club afloat financially.
Now with Kinta at the helm, the likeable 54 year old will lead by example. Not immune to getting her hands dirty and putting in the hours, she is looking forward to the challenge of reviving the club and putting Walkerburn back on the map again. The aim will be to get league rugby back on the agenda and building the numbers up. Walkerburn have announced that their 7s tournament will take place next year on May 26th.
Wednesday, November 15th, 2017
BT Cup begins this weekend
Clubs take a break from league action this weekend with Round 1 of the BT Cup and Round 2 of the BT National Cup. The big fixture is on Friday night when Jedforest take on Melrose. It will be interesting to see if Jedforest, having beaten Gala 65-6 a few weeks ago, can retain their unbeaten home record against the full force of Melrose, unbeaten in all competitions all season and chalking up big scores along the way. Melrose Head Coach Rob Chrystie has said that he will be taking Jedforest very seriously and is expected to put out a full strength team for the clash. He will be fully aware that Jed gave Heriot’s a fright last year when coming within an ace of knocking out Premiership side Heriot’s. Look at our preview here. Extended interview with Melrose coach Rob Chrystie can be viewed here.
Hawick host Selkirk while Boroughmuir welcome Gala to Meggetland. In the National Cup Round 2 it’s a Friday night return match for St Boswells at Hillhead-Jordanhill looking to repeat their league win there earlier in the season. Peebles are at home to Haddington on Friday night for their match in the National Cup. Kelso will play Howe of Fife at Poynder Park on Saturday.
Meanwhile Melrose have announced the launch of the Melrose University 7s competition at the Greenyards on Sunday 1st April, hoping to attract some of the top students teams in Scotland. It will be a big opportunity for some of the more talented young men and women in the country to play at the Home of 7s Rugby.
Sunday, November 12th, 2017
Mark Robertson inducted into Scottish Rugby Hall of Fame
Melrose RFC’s Mark Robertson was inducted into the Scottish Rugby Hall of Fame last night. A well-deserved honour for the Olympic silver medalist, shown here receiving his award from Scottish Rugby President, Rob Flockhart.
Mark’s inclusion in Team GB at the Olympics and a win at the England 7s tournament at Twickenham highlighted a magnificent 7s career. He joins an elite bunch of Scottish legends who are in the Hall of Fame. Mark is now concentrating on coaching, working with Scottish Rugby and also running 7s camps to encourage the next generation of kids with former team-mate and school pal Scott Wight.
Photo courtesy Scottish Rugby.
Saturday, November 11th, 2017
Berwick and Gala YM win in Borders Shield – Walkerburn return with a big win in East Region Bowl
Gala YM beat their rivals Earlston at Netherdale today in the Borders Shield competition, winning by 27-17 while in the other game Berwick won comfortably 57-5 on the road at Hawick Linden.
In the East Region Bowl competition, Walkerburn won 94-12 against Caledonia Thebans. Walkerburn have been struggling to continue for a number of months, so this result is a welcome return to form.
Wednesday, November 8th, 2017
The South overturn 19 point deficit to win against Caledonia
The South of Scotland team turned round a 0-19 scoreline in the first quarter of their match at Stirling yesterday against Caledonia Reds, to run in six tries and win the match 40-24. It was a match put on to raise funds for the Doddie Weir Motor Neurone Disease Trust and succeeded in raising over £5500. On the pitch Caledonia raced into a 19-0 lead with three tries from Jonny Hope, Erland Oag and Ruairidh Leishman, with Jonny Hope converting two of them. Just before the break Calum Marshall managed to squeeze himself over the line to give The South a lifeline, with Gregor Hunter adding the extras.
There was still plenty of work to do but Kevin Barrie’s side responded to his chat at the turn and Graham Speirs crossed for a second half try following a break by Hunter. Hunter’s conversion reduced the deficit to 5 points, and when Ewan Scott side-stepped his way past two defenders for The South’s third touchdown (also converted by Hunter) the team from the Borders got their noses in front. Lee Armstrong’s solo effort score next was well received as he dived over under the posts to give The South a 28-19 lead, Hunter goaling his fourth successful conversion in the process.
Caley Reds came back with a well-worked try finished off by Logan Trotter with eight minutes to go, but a score from Dalton Redpath following more excellent work from Hunter sealed the match. Armstrong bagged a second try right at the death with Hunter kicking his fifth conversion as the final whistle blew. The 10 National 1 players in the starting XV for The South can justifiably be proud of their efforts against Caledonia’s 13-strong BT Premiership boys, but so can Hawick’s five starters who tasted victory last night for the first time this season. The South remain unbeaten this century in their four games against Caledonia (twice), Northumberland and The Barbarians, and this was their first match outwith the Borders since 1997.
It is no secret that The South have had tentative talks among most of their Border League club members with a view to possibly putting a bid in for one of the two floating Super Six franchise spots up for grabs, and on the evidence on the pitch last night a South team would certainly be competitive in such a competition. Of course with full details about rules and regulations yet to come out regarding the Super Six competition, it’s all speculation for now, but it will be very interesting to see if the South of Scotland could be at the Super Six table along with Melrose, who are likely to get the Borders franchise should they decide to bid for it, when the successful clubs are announced next year.
Watch TV highlights of the game here. Watch TV report of the game here.
Saturday, November 4th, 2017
Jed smash Gala in NL1 – Hawick still without a win – Selkirk, Peebles & St Boswells all win
Jedforest ran riot at home to Gala in National 1 with a 65-6 win over their Border rivals, in a match which doubled as a Border League game, eliminating Gala from that competition in the process. Among the scorers once again for Jedforest was Robbie Shirra-Gibb (pictured) who managed a brace and has scored tries in 9 of the 10 league matches for his club. That win for Jed keeps up the pressure on the league leaders, Edinburgh Accies, who enjoyed a big 59-7 win at Cartha QP. Watch TV report on Jedforest v Gala here. Highlights from game here.
Selkirk overcame their hosts Stewart’s Melville 29-19 in a close game where the lead changed hands several times,but despite scoring 41 points at GHA, Kelso lost 50-41 at Braidholm. They do move up to 8th in the table though.
Hawick are still without a win with a loss at second-placed Currie 32-24 but for the second week running they won the second half, and this time managed a try bonus to put them on 5 points for the season. Their nearest rivals Marr beat Glasgow Hawks 31-15 though to push them four points clear of Hawick with Boroughmuir down to 9th but still 11 points ahead of the Greens.
In Division 2 Peebles continued their winning streak with a 33-29 win at Whitecraigs to go 6th in the table, while St Boswells toppled Newton Stewart in Division 3, moving them up to 4th and within one point of a promotion place.
In the East Leagues there were wins for Hawick Harlequins in EL1 and Earlston in EL2.
Saturday, November 4th, 2017
Hat Trick for Thomson as Melrose complete 10/10 Bonus Point Wins at Myreside
A first half masterclass from Melrose wrapping up their 10th bonus point in 10 games giving them 50/50pts and unbeaten. They are creating their own history at the highest level in Scottish Club Rugby, and Fraser Thomson’s second try where he finished off a brilliant team effort is one of the best scores by any Melrose player in the last 10 years. Our picture shows captain Grant Runciman breaking clear during that Melrose build up to the try. Fraser Thomson’s hat trick was one of five touchdowns for Melrose on the night – the others were scored by Sam Pecqueur and Iain Moody. The 32-12 result against Watsonians at Myreside under the lights leaves Melrose 21 points clear at the top of the table ahead of tomorrow’s matches. Watch highlights here. The TV report is here.
Thursday, November 2nd, 2017
South of Scotland name team for Caledonia clash
The South of Scotland rugby team has been announced for the first game this century in which The South will take to the field outwith the Borders. The match against Caledonia (Caley Reds) at Bridgehaugh, the home of Stirling County RFC on Tuesday 7th November at 7.30pm is in aid of Doddie Weir’s Discretionary Trust. It will be only the fourth time since 2000 that a full South XV made up of club players from the Scottish Borders (or originate from a Borders club) will wear the famous red and white hooped jerseys. Watch team announcement video here. Interview with Bruce McNeil here.
Gregor Hunter (Gala) will once again wear the captain’s arm band with Bruce McNeil vice captain. The starting XV will feature five players from Hawick, four from Jedforest and three each representing Gala and Selkirk including Calum Marshall, who now plays for Heriot’s.
Last year in the corresponding fixture at Riverside Park, Jedburgh, The South won 33-7, giving the team a third win out of three games played this century against The Barbarians, Northumberland and Caledonia.
There will be eight players on the bench, five of them from Hawick one each from Jedforest, Selkirk and Kelso. Head Coach of The South for the first time will be Kevin Barrie of Jedforest with assistants Darren Cunningham and Fraser Harkness.
Kevin Barrie said he was very honoured to lead the team:
“This is something which is badly needed for the club players who are looking to play at that different level. The South has a tremendous history and it’s so good to get a full team on the park. We’re hoping for a big crowd, particularly as it’s in aid of Doddie’s charity. We want to put on a show and make Doddie proud. We respect what Doddie did for the South of Scotland.”
Vice Captain Bruce McNeil added the entire squad was buzzing for this fixture:
“It’s terrific that the best players from most of the clubs in the area have come together and gelled for this. We all know each other well. Last year’s game was closer than the result suggested. We had to do a lot of defending but on Tuesday we want to change that and have more of the ball and play as much rugby as we can.”
Eight players who started against Caledonia Reds a year ago have been included in the starting line-up for this match, and a number of youngsters have been named on the bench including Blair Robertson (Kelso), Josh MacKay (Selkirk) and Hawick’s Lewis Ferguson.
Bruce McNeil lead out the South team against The Barbarians, but also played in the 2009 match against Northumberland, and is the only member of the team who will have played in all four matches for The South of Scotland team since the team was resurrected eight years ago.
Robbie Shirra-Gibb (Jedforest) and Craig Russell (Gala) have scored 12 tries each for their clubs this season and jointly top the National League Division 1 try-scoring table, while Graham Speirs (Gala) has touched down 8 times this season so far.
For those unable to travel to watch the match, the game will be televised by Borders Rugby TV and highlights will be shown on Wednesday 8th November, the day after online.
The South team for the match v Caledonia is as follows:
15 GRAHAM SPEIRS (Gala)
14 CRAIG RUSSELL (Gala)
13 LEE ARMSTRONG (Hawick)
12 EWAN SCOTT (Jedforest)
11 ROBBIE SHIRRA-GIBB (Jedforest)
10 GREGOR HUNTER (Gala) CAPTAIN
9 SEAN GOODFELLOW (Jedforest)
1 LUKE PETTIE (Selkirk)
2 MATT CARRYER (Hawick)
3 NICKY LITTLE (Hawick)
4 GREGOR LAW (Jedforest)
5 ANDREW RENWICK (Selkirk)
6 CALUM MARSHALL (Heriot’s/Selkirk)
7 GUY GRAHAM (Hawick)
8 BRUCE McNEIL (Hawick) VICE CAPTAIN
16 CAMERON MACKAY (Jedforest)
17 SHAWN MUIR (Hawick)
18 BLAIR ROBERTSON (Kelso)
19 DALTON REDPATH (Hawick)
20 JOSH MACKAY (Selkirk)
21 GREG COTTRELL (Hawick)
22 DOM BUCKLEY (Hawick)
23 LEWIS FERGUSON (Hawick)
Saturday, October 28th, 2017
9 from 9 for Melrose – Jedforest continue winning run – Gala shocked by Stew Mel
Melrose completed the halfway stage in the BT Premiership with another home win and a bonus point in beating Hawick 30-20 at The Greenyards, but the game was much closer than many had predicted. An improved Hawick performance saw them score two tries from Gary Munro, while Melrose wrapped up their ninth try bonus of the season by the interval with a try each from Fraser Thomson, Richard Ferguson, Murdo McAndrew and Grant Sheills. Melrose now have opened up a gigantic 16 point lead at the top of the table with their nearest rivals, Currie, having lost a third of their matches already, such is the dominance of the black and yellows this season. TV Report of match here.
In BT National 1 Selkirk got back to winning ways with a 34-31 victory at home to GHA, scoring five tries including one from Steven Hamilton (pictured). Watch highlights here. The shock of the day was Stewart’s Melville comeback from 24-0 down to beat Gala at Netherdale by 31-24, a result which could well come back to haunt the Maroons later in the season. Jedforest went on a scoring spree at Falkirk to win 62-22 while Kelso deserved far more out of their home game with unbeaten leaders Edinburgh Accies. Leading for a large part of the game, Kelso were eventually worn down by the City side who won 17-27, denying the Borders side any points at all.
In National 2 Peebles won again, beating GHK 30-21 while St Boswells stay 4th in National 3 with an away win at Gordonians 27-17.
In East League 1 the local teams had a clean sweep of victories, Berwick, Duns and Hawick Harlequins all winning comfortably at home. EL2 saw more Borders wins. Langholm and Hawick Linden won on the road, Gala YM posted a victory on their own patch but Earlston lost heavily in their away match.
Monday, October 23rd, 2017
Doddie Weir’s trust benefits from Masters match
Doddie Weir’5 Discretionary Trust Fund benefited by over £3000 on Friday night when The charity team The Crusaders took on a Melrose Vets team at Murrayfield Wanderers’ plastic pitch in Edinburgh. Melrose legends from the past including John Dalziel, Scott Wight, Graeme Dodds, Scott Johnson, Rob Chrystie and Tom Weir all turned out for the Melrose team. The next big game for the Trust will take place on Tuesday 7th November at Bridgehaugh when Caledonia Reds host The South of Scotland.
Meanwhile John Dalziel has selected his first ever Scotland 7s squad, and three Melrose players and one from Gala have been included. Scotland will be taking part in the Assupol International 7s event at Stellenbosh, South Africa on October 28th and will face Kenya, England Academies and South Africa at the event. Melrose’s Nyle Godsmark, Sam Pecqueur and Ross McCann will be pulling on the blue jersey along with Gala’s Gregor Hunter. Meet the three Melrose players selected here.
Sunday, October 22nd, 2017
Record 8 Bonus Point Wins in succession for Melrose
Melrose chalked up an eighth consecutive bonus point at Heriot’s to reach 40 points – a feat which has never been done before in the BT Premiership. Their 47-29 win against the Goldenacre outfit puts them a massive 12 points clear at the top of the table with Ayr in second. Fraser Thomson scored another brace of tries with Jason Baggott, Ruairidh Knott, Sam Pecqueur, Ally Miller and a Penalty Try accounting for the others. With a home game against winless Hawick at the Greenyards next week Melrose are on course for a maximum 45 points at the halfway stage, but of course, because of the format of the BT Premiership these days, the team could go through the whole card unbeaten, collecting 90 points and still wouldn’t be crowned champions! All it would achieve would be a home semi final tie in the play-offs which will follow, and in a one-off knockout match against a fourth placed team who could be many points behind them, anything could happen. Of course you won’t hear anyone complaining publicly about the situation as these are the competition rules, but there still seems no logical reason why a play-off system for a top tier competition is needed. Even in the world of professional football you won’t find the top tier (Premiership) having play-offs at the end of the season.
Hawick went into the break against Ayr 14-7 up in their first match under new head coach George Graham, but despite an improved performance The Greens ended up on the losing side again 19-32. Watch TV report here.
In the BT National League 1 Gala and Selkirk both lost on the road. Selkirk went down 15-27 at table-toppers Edinburgh Accies while Gala succumbed to an impressive re-vitalised GHA side who won 41-27. Jedforest held on to beat Dundee High 24-20 in their match which keeps them second, while Kelso beat Cartha QP 31-29 in a game which ended up tighter than expected, after Kelso were 17-0 up in just 12 minutes. Watch highlights here.
Peebles won their NL2 game at Dumfries 33-12 while St Boswells move into fourth spot with a convincing 43-17 over Highland.
In the East Leagues,Berwick, Duns and Hawick Harlequins all won away from home while Earlston lost at home to Penicuik. In the only derby of the day Hawick Linden beat Gala YM 56-5.
Monday, October 16th, 2017
South Squad announced for Caledonia Clash
The South of Scotland rugby team will take to the field outwith the Borders for the first time this century in a match against Caledonia (Caley Reds) at Bridgehaugh, the home of Stirling County RFC on Tuesday 7th November at 7.30pm. It will be only the fourth time since 2000 that a full South XV made up of club players from the Scottish Borders (or originate from a Borders club) will wear the famous red and white hooped jerseys.
Proceeds from the game will be going to Doddie Weir’s Discretionary Trust after Doddie’s diagnosis of Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
Last year in the corresponding fixture at Riverside Park, Jedburgh, The South won 33-7, and marked the third victory for The South since the team returned to playing games following victories over Northumberland in 2009 and The Barbarians in 2011.
The squad will be captained again by Gala fly half and Scottish 7s international Gregor Hunter with Hawick’s Bruce McNeil vice captain. The 25 players in the squad come from Hawick (9), Jedforest (7), Gala (5), Selkirk (3) and Kelso (1). Melrose were invited to support this match but declined to do so.
The team will be announced on Tuesday 31st October.
Captain Gregor Hunter said:
“I’m obviously really honoured to be named South Captain again. I really enjoyed the challenge last year and I’m glad I have the opportunity to not only represent the south but be captain again. It was a tough challenge last year but it will be even harder being away from home. Hopefully we can get a good travelling support and put in a performance.”
Head Coach for this game will be Kevin Barrie (Jedforest).
The South squad for the match v Caledonia is as follows:
Graham Speirs (Gala)
Craig Russell (Gala)
Lewis Young (Jedforest)
Robbie Shirra-Gibb (Jedforest)
Lewis Ferguson ( Hawick)
Ewan Scott (Jedforest)
Lee Armstrong (Hawick)
Gregor Young (Jedforest)
Gregor Hunter (Gala) CAPTAIN
Sean Goodfellow (Jedforest)
Greg Cottrell (Hawick)
Blair Robertson (Kelso)
Luke Pettie (Selkirk)
Chris Keen (Gala)
Shawn Muir (Hawick)
Nicky Little (Hawick)
Matty Carryer (Hawick)
Cameron MacKay (Jedforest)
SECOND ROW FORWARDS
Gregor Law (Jedforest)
Andrew Renwick (Selkirk)
Dalton Redpath (Hawick)
BACK ROW FORWARDS
Bruce McNeil (Hawick)
Calum Marshall (Selkirk / Heriot’s)
Guy Graham (Hawick)
Euan Dods (Gala / Watsonians)
HEAD COACH: Kevin Barrie (Jedforest)
The match will be televised with highlights available on Wednesday 8th November.
Sunday, October 15th, 2017
Melrose Planning Permission Approved for 3G Pitch and Floodlights
Melrose have announced tonight that they have officially received planning permission to install a new 3G Pitch at the Greenyards with floodlights.
This is part of their Legacy Project which aims to have a new stadium at the famous ground in the future. It is a fitting birthday present for the club which reached the age of 140 at the weekend, and the team celebrated in style with a whopping 66-10 win against Marr.
Sunday, October 15th, 2017
George Graham handed Hawick Head Coach job
Following seven straight defeats in the first seven matches under Darren Cunningham, Hawick RFC have offered George Graham the Head Coach job tonight. George came on board a couple of weeks ago to help with specialist coaching duties despite earlier in the season being very happy to sit the season out watching his boys George, Guy and Gary playing rugby for Penrith, Hawick and Newcastle Falcons respectively. Hawick have managed just two losing bonus points and two try bonus points so far in the BT Premiership, and with heavy defeats at Heriot’s (7-70) and Boroughmuir on Saturday (18-60), the team just above them in the table, it was clear something needed to be done to try and change the fortunes of the Greens who recruited well in the summer months with the signing of several new players including Craig Hamilton, Guy Graham, Dom Buckley, Ross Combe, Matty Carryer and Gary Munro. Hawick’s next game will be on Saturday at home to Ayr, who are currently in third having put 40 points on Heriot’s on Saturday, and it won’t get any easier after that with the derby at the Greenyards against high-flying unbeaten Melrose.
Darren Cunningham has agreed to stay on as Backs Coach of Hawick. Stuart Cameron spoke to George and you can see this exclusive first interview here. View short version for ITV here.
HAWICK’S FIRST SEVEN MATCHES THIS SEASON:
2 Sep – Lost 28-39 Currie (1 TB)
9 Sep – Lost 29-56 Stirling (1 TB)
16 Sep – Lost 19-23 Marr (1 LB)
23 Sep – Lost 7-70 Heriots (0)
30 Sep – Lost 19-26 Hawks (1 LB)
7 Oct – Lost 23-41 Watsonians (0)
14 Oct – Lost 18-60 B’Muir (0)
Sunday, October 15th, 2017
Melrose march on but Hawick still winless – Gala lose unbeaten record
Melrose’s incredible domination of the BT Premiership continued yesterday with a 66-10 win over Marr at The Greenyards. Nine tries were scored with four players each getting a brace – Sam Pecqueur, Jason Baggott, Gavin Wood and Nyle Godsmark, with Ruairidh Knott getting the other. That’s seven bonus point wins out of seven for the Black and Yellows. Hawick continue to struggle though at the other end of the table. They stay bottom with no wins and only 4 bonus points following another crushing defeat, 60-18 at Boroughmuir, who are just one place above them in the table.
In National 1 Gala lost their unbeaten record to Edinburgh Accies in a close game at Netherdale. The unbeaten City side edged the game 16-13 to stay top of the table. Watch the ITV report here. Jedforest move into second spot following their 41-33 win at Aberdeen while Selkirk drop below Gala into fourth place despite beating Kelso with a last minute Steve Hamilton try 24-19 in the game which doubled as a Border League match.
In National 2 Peebles’ home game against Aberdeenshire was postponed while in the league below St Boswells went down at Murrayfield Wanderers 36-25.
In East League 1 all Borders sides posted victories – Berwick, Duns and Hawick Quins – while in Division 2 Earlston, Langholm and Gala YM won with Hawick Linden the only local side to taste defeat.
Saturday, October 7th, 2017
Melrose march on with sixth bonus point win – Gala still unbeaten in NL1
Melrose went over 40 points again in the BT Premiership with a win over second placed Stirling County on the road by 40-27 to maintain their unbeaten record, all with try bonuses. Ali Miller was this week’s hat-trick hero as Melrose ran in 6 tries in all, with Fraser Thomson, Sam Pecqueur and Ross McCann also getting over the paint. Craig Jackson converted five of them. It was the perfect start for Melrose as they raced into a 19-0 lead which County couldn’t come back from.
Hawick lost again at home and are still without a win at the bottom of the table. They lost 23-41 to Watsonians but were up 13-3 at the break. Dom Buckley, Keith Davies and Lewis Ferguson were the three try scorers for the Greens with Ali Weir kicking the rest of the points. Watch TV report here.
In BT National 1, Gala won the derby at Kelso 36-21 to stay unbeaten and keep second place in the table, while Selkirk and Jedforest both won their home matches against Cartha Queens Park (41-29) and Musselburgh (49-27) respectively.
Peebles recorded their second win of the season at home to West of Scotland (33-10) while St Boswells also won 36-20 at home to Haddington in Divisions 2 and 3.
In the East Leagues Duns and Berwick both won their games in the First Division, while in Division 2, Langholm won the derby against Gala YM 36-0. Hawick Linden overcame Penicuik while Earlston were beaten by table-toppers Barnton.
Monday, October 2nd, 2017
Melrose in a class of their own as McCann’s 4 tries help slam Currie
Five games played and five bonus points for Melrose, and on Saturday they overcame Currie 41-10 after a closely fought first half. Ross McCann collected four tries to add to touchdowns from Neil Irvine-Hess, Fraser Thomson and Richard Ferguson. They are now eight points clear at the top. Hawick bounced back from their 70-7 defeat at Goldenacre last week to get a losing bonus point at Glasgow Hawks. They finished on the wrong end of a 26-19 result. It was a better performance from the Greens but that result drops them to the basement in the BT Premiership table with just four points and still no win.
In the eagerly-anticipated derby at Netherdale in NL1, Gala kept their unbeaten record intact with a 16-5 win over previously unbeaten Selkirk. There were only two tries in the game, one for John Turnbull and one for Selkirk’s Scott Hendrie, with the boot of Gregor Hunter and a strong pack and defence helping the Maroons to the victory which puts them up to second, while the Souters drop to third. Jedforest won at Cartha Queens Park 34-27 while Kelso collected a bonus-point win at Falkirk 54-21. You can watch highlights of the Kelso match here while the ITV roundup report is here.
In National 2 Peebles missed out on a much-needed win at Howe of Fife, going down 20-26 at Howe of Fife, but St Boswells’ long trek by private jet to Orkney resulted in a 31-10 win.
In the East Leagues there were wins for Hawick Harlequins and Duns in Division 1, and Gala YM, Earlston and Hawick Linden in EL2, while Langholm blew a lead to lose their unbeaten record at Ross High.
Saturday, September 23rd, 2017
Melrose and Selkirk top the tables in BT Premiership and NL1
Melrose came from behind at The Greenyards against Glasgow Hawks to run out winners by 35-13, with Murdo McAndrew getting on the scoresheet twice with a couple of tries, along with Ruairidh Knott and Russell Anderson. Craig Jackson kicked the rest of the points. That win leaves Melrose clear leaders at the top of the BT Premiership and the only unbeaten team of the 10. They’ve also grabbed a try bonus in all games to date. Hawick lost 70-7 at Heriot’s with a Lee Armstrong try converted by Ali Weir all the Greens had to show in the credit column. They have three bonus points from their opening games and this puts them above Boroughmuir who are at the foot of the table.
Selkirk have gone to the top of the BT National 1 table following a clinical 87-3 win at home to Falkirk. Gala’s Graham Speirs (pictured) scored his sixth try of the season for Gala as they overcame Cartha Queens Park 41-12. They also managed a try bonus point thanks to a late Scott Wilkinson try. Craig Russell scored a try for the Maroons who were also awarded a penalty try. Gregor Hunter had a good day with the boot, landing five penalties and two conversions. Watch highlights from that game here. The TV Report featuring Melrose and Gala matches is here.
Gala are unbeaten in third place, and will host leaders Selkirk at Netherdale next Saturday when something is bound to give. Jedforest recorded an impressive 48-0 win at Stewart’s Melville’s former international ground but Kelso went down at home to Dundee High 3-17.
In National 2 Peebles lost at home to Hamilton 20-30 while St Boswells were too strong for Perthshire in NL3, getting a 43-11 victory.
In East League 1 Hawick Harlequins beat Linlithgow 31-10 bur Duns succumbed to Portobello 24-12 on the road.
Division 2 saw Langholm make it 5 wins out of 5 in beating Penicuik 45-10 but Hawick Linden’s hammered a very weak Earlston side ravished by injuries and unavailabilities by 103-8. Gala YM lost for the first time this season at Trinity Accies, losing at Bangholm 48-7.
Monday, September 18th, 2017
George Graham returns to coaching in the Borders
George Graham is back coaching in the Borders.
The former Gala Head Coach, who was in charge at Netherdale for seven years, leading the club to a Scottish Cup win and regular top 4 places in the Premiership, will be joining Hawick tomorrow where he will be providing specialist coaching skills alongside Head Coach Darren Cunningham and Craig Hamilton.
One of George’s sons, Guy, started at The Greens this season in the back row, and with Hawick without a win from three attempts this season in the BT Premiership, George’s presence will be most welcome.
Sunday, September 17th, 2017
Melrose and Selkirk remain unbeaten with 15 points
Melrose beat Ayr for the second time in the space of four weeks on their own home patch to come away from Millbrae with all five points from the BT Premiership game, recording a 34-17 win. It follows their victory in the BT Charity Shield and confirmed their position at the top of the table after winning all three of their games so far in the league. Ross McCann (2), Sam Pecqueur and Russell Anderson scored the tries with Craig Jackson converting them all and adding two penalties. The Borders’ only other team in the top flight of Scottish Club Rugby, Hawick, found themselves 0-20 down at home to Marr in their fixture. They fought back with three tries from Kyle Brunton, Lewis Ferguson and Tom Brown to get to within a point of their opponents but a late penalty secured a first win for Marr against the Greens and their first away win in the BT Premiership.
In BT National 1 Selkirk came from behind to snatch a memorable win at Dundee High 32-29, and they now sit second in the table on points difference behind Edinburgh Accies. Watch highlights here. In the same division Gala remain unbeaten although not on maximum points. Their demolition of Falkirk at Sunnyside 85-19 saw them score 13 tries. That was the amount scored by GHA last week, but at Jedforest they lost 26-25 in the proverbial game of two halves. Jed secured their own try bonus and sent the Glaswegian side tumbling from 1st to 4th in the table. Kelso were 14-0 up at Aberdeen but eventually went down 44-24 at Rubislaw.
In BT NL2, Peebles got their first win of the season at local rivals Biggar 33-20 while St Boswells made heavy weather of their 24-20 win at Dalziel in Division 3.
In the East Leagues all Borders sides won except for Hawick Harlequins who lost in a derby in NL1 at Duns.
Sunday, September 10th, 2017
Melrose rampant start to season continues in BT Premiership – Gala and Selkirk unbeaten in BT NL1
Melrose hit the half century mark for the second time in a row to leave them at the top of the BT Premiership after two rounds. After a steady start against Boroughmuir, Melrose found second gear and cruised to a very comfortable win at The Greenyards. Sam Pecqueur scored his first ever hat-trick in the BT Premiership with Bruce Colvine and Fraser Thomson both getting a brace and a clutch of other touchdowns in their 51-15 win. Not so good news for Hawick, who are yet to record a win. They went to Bridgehaugh to take on Stirling County and with the score 30-29 to the hosts near the end there was a lot to play for. The Greens capitulated though, conceding 26 points without reply and going down 56-29.
In National 1 Gala and Selkirk stay unbeaten over Dundee High and Aberdeen Grammar respectively. Kelso got their first win of the season against Musselburgh while Jedforest lost at Raeburn Place against Edinburgh Accies. Watch highlights of Edinburgh Accies and Jedforest here.
In National 2 Peebles lost at home to Kirkcaldy while St Boswells went down to Glasgow Accies in the 3rd Division. Watch our TV report featuring footage of games involving Melrose and Jedforest here.
Thursday, September 7th, 2017
Langholm star Jimmy Maxwell dies
The death has been announced of former Langholm captain James Maxwell, at the age of 86.
“Jimmy” played 16 seasons for the club, captaining them in the late 50s. He was a member of the South of Scotland team, playing 21 times for the regional side. He played Stand Off for Scotland in 1957, winning his only cap against Ireland at Murrayfield. That day Ireland won a close game 5-3. Jimmy played with the likes of Ken Scotland, Hugh McLeod and Arthur Smith that day with Ireland boasting a side which included the legendary Jack Kyle and Tony O’Reilly.
The season he captained Langholm, the club were undefeated and for a four month period that year they never conceded any tries. Jimmy retired from rugby in 1962 but was still involved with Langholm after that as a selector and club official. There will be a minute’s silence prior to this week’s game between Langholm and Earlston at Milntown.
Picture courtesy Langholm RFC.
Sunday, September 3rd, 2017
Winning starts for five top-ranked Borders teams as new season gets underway
Melrose scored an impressive eight tries against Watsonians at The Greenyards to win their first BT Premiership game of the season. The 54-22 win puts them immediately at the top of the table ahead of another home fixture next weekend when they face Boroughmuir. Fraser Thomson (pictured) scored a hat trick to take his total of tries in a Melrose jersey to 100, a phenomenal achievement. Sam Pecqueur, Russell Anderson, Grant Runciman, Ross McCann and Ally Miller scored the others. Over at Mansfield Park the scoreboard told its own story, with Hawick losing heavily at home to Currie 28-39, and despite getting a try bonus point this was a big disappointment for their start to the season. Darcy Graham once again showed his class in touching down for a superb try out wide, with Kyle Brunton, a Penalty Try and a touchdown by Ross Combe adding to their tally. Watch action from this game here.
In BT National 1 Gala made a winning start to their campaign following relegation last season. Their longest journey of the season saw them beat Aberdeen Grammar 34-28 to secure five points with a five try haul made up of a brace from Scott Wilkinson and one each for Chris Weir, Craig Russell and Graham Speirs. Tries from this match can be seen here. Jedforest beat Kelso 27-20 in a tight local derby at Riverside Park, while Selkirk’s 39-20 win at Musselburgh will give them bags of confidence for the rest of the season.
Peebles lost to Lasswade 28-15 on the road in Division 2, while St Boswells won at Hillhead-Jordanhill 25-10. In the East Leagues there were victories for Hawick Quins and Duns in East League 1, and Langholm, Earlston and Hawick Linden in the second tier.
Friday, September 1st, 2017
South of Scotland exploring potential bid for Super 6 franchise
At the Border League meeting last week six of the seven clubs – Hawick, Gala, Selkirk, Jedforest, Peebles and Kelso – decided to explore the possibility of bidding for one of the six Super 6 Semi Pro Rugby franchises which will be available in November. It’s an exciting time for Scottish club rugby with big changes coming into effect in two years time at the start of the 2019-20 season. As well as this new semi pro league, club rugby will be totally amateur, with a Scottish Championship directly underneath the Super 6, with three National Leagues below that. Hawick RFC President, John Thorburn, has been a big supporter of the South of Scotland team for many years and sees a real chance for the brand to come back permanently. Watch the interview here. There is a lot of talking to be done and questions to be asked about the fine print of any franchise. Melrose, who have opted not to join with the other clubs, are expected to be putting in a bid of their own.
The possibility of having at least one Borders team in the Super 6 is an exciting one and one which is being widely discussed in the Borders community, many loving the idea of a South v Melrose regular fixture at least three times a year, while others find it hard to get their head round the idea of sustaining 70 players from the area. Autonomy is a big deal too. Border Reivers pro team famously ended with little support, many citing the fact that they felt this was not a team controlled by the people of the Borders. With Scottish Rugby putting in 50% financially and expected to have a big say in the running of all six clubs, there are barriers to overcome for sure. The next few weeks will be interesting as we follow the many twists and turns which will undoubtedly occur as we head towards the biggest change in Scottish Club Rugby ever.
Thursday, August 31st, 2017
Round 2 of the BT National League Cup is drawn
With all three Borders sides safely through from Round 1, two of the three have been given home draws in Round 2, which will be played on November 18th.
St Boswells’ reward for beating Newton Stewart is a trip to Hillhead-Jordanhill, who they face in the National 3 league on Saturday. Peebles were given a bye in Round 1 so their first Cup action will find them at The Gytes playing host to Haddington, while Kelso have a tie at Poynder Park against Howe of Fife following their good win at Cartha Queens Park.
The full draw is: Dumfries v Hamilton, GHA v Musselburgh, GHK v Biggar, Hillhead-Jordanhill v St Boswells, Kelso v Howe of Fife, Peebles v Haddington, Stewart’s Melville v Preston Lodge & Whitecraigs v Highland
Monday, August 28th, 2017
Pro Drafts Announced for BT Premiership Teams
The annual pro draft has taken place in which around 100 contracted Professional Rugby players in Scotland are assigned to the 10 clubs in the BT Premiership. The idea behind it is to give fringe players more game time with many of them only playing a short amount of time for Edinburgh or Glasgow Warriors, or not used at all. There are some Scotland 7s players in the mix too. The big names will of course be unlikely to be lining up – stars of the calibre of Stuart Hogg, for instance, is unlikely to be pulling on the pink and black jersey of Ayr this season even though he has been assigned to them, but he will be available to help out with coaching and PR duties which will be very beneficial. But it’s the quality players on the cusp of stardom which are the most useful to the Premiership clubs. These are the guys hungry to impress and who will be an asset to those clubs, although, controversially, they will be taking the places of regulars who turn up at training at least twice a week only to be stood down as being surplus to requirements. But that is the modern way and players need to deal with it.
Here are the players drafted to Melrose and Hawick this season, and it is good to see the likes of Darcy Graham (Hawick) and James Bhatti (Melrose) assigned to their own clubs which have been such a big part in their development.
HAWICK – Darcy Graham, Kevin Bryce, Tom Brown, Rory Sutherland, Blair Kinghorn, Cornell Du Preez, Allan Dell, Joseva Nayacavou, John Hardie, Hugh Blake & Phil Burleigh.
MELROSE – Jamie Bhatti, Ally Miller, Tom Galbraith, Grant Gilchrist, Anton Bresler, Simon Berghan, James Johnstone, Stuart McInally, Ross Ford (pictured above courtesy Scottish Rugby) & Scott Riddell.
Sunday, August 27th, 2017
Booker Border League fixtures announced
Melrose won the Booker Border League title last season at Kelso, winning the final against Gala convincingly, but this season they are yet to start their defence of the title. They will play two games in Pool A against Selkirk and Kelso, and today the remaining fixtures from this season’s two Pools have been announced.
Melrose will play Kelso at Poynder Park on November 24th and Selkirk at home on the Saturday before Christmas while Selkirk and Kelso will use their BT National 1 game at Philiphaugh as a double header to decide the outcome of that tie.
Meanwhile in Pool B, two matches have already been played with Hawick beating Gala and Jedforest winning at Peebles. Gala and Jedforest will double-head their BT NL1 match on November 4th, Peebles will host Hawick on November 24th, Gala will take on Peebles at Netherdale on December 21st with the only Booker Border League match taking place in 2018 will be Jedforest v Hawick on 2nd February. Hawick are currently well in the lead on the winners table dating back to 1901 when the world’s oldest league started. They have 49 titles and will be hoping for a 50th in 2018. Melrose are in second place on the all-time list with 18, Gala are on 12 with Jedforest taking the title 10 times. Only Peebles from the Big 7 have never lifted the trophy, with Langholm the only other club outside these to win a title. This happened back in 1958-59 with two leagues unfinished, with no contests during the two World Wars.
Check out our dedicated Border League page here for full information.
Saturday, August 26th, 2017
Melrose secure BT Charity Shield, while Kelso and St Boswells progress in the BT National League Cup
Melrose kicked off their competitive season with an impressive win at Millbrae against last season’s Scottish BT Premiership Champions 44-31. This fixture is always the curtain raiser to the season with the Premiership Champions hosting the Scottish BT Cup Winners, and both were out to throw the ball about with 75 points scored. Melrose managed to run in seven tries in all, with two from Ross McCann, a Penalty Try and one each from Sam Pecqueur, Fraser Thomson, Richard Ferguson and Nick Beavon. The men from the Greenyards were 32-17 up at the break and managed to contain their opponents in the second half to hold out for the win. Always a big deal to win at Millbrae and the victory sets the top Borders club up for their opening match at home to Watsonians on Saturday.
In the BT Cup Round 1, Kelso knocked out Cartha Queens Park 35-20 away from home, a good result for them considering both teams were promoted into BT National 1 last season. St Boswells took the scalp of Newton Stewart 32-6 at Jenny Moore’s Road, with Peebles already through due to a bye into Round 2. Peebles opted to play their first Booker Border League match at home to Jedforest and scored five tries, but Jed managed six – all converted by Ewan Scott – to go to the top of the table in Pool B. Jedforest’s captain Paulo Ferreira scored a hat trick, with Blade Roff, Callum Young and Martin Chisholm all crossing for tries. For Peebles Hooker Ryan Stewart got two touchdowns, with Murray Brown and Scott Stoddart getting one each with a penalty try awarded after Ruaridh Clinch was hampered as he crossed the line for a try out wide. Although it should have been a Clinch try by rights, it will go down on the books as a penalty try, and this season all penalty tries are worth 7 points with no conversion under the posts needed. Watch action from the game here.
In the East Leagues there were wins for Hawick Harlequins in EL1 and Langholm and Gala YM in League 2.
Picture of Melrose with the trophy courtesy Scottish Rugby.
Thursday, August 24th, 2017
Darcy Graham to start for Edinburgh tomorrow at The Greenyards
Good to see Darcy Graham in the Edinburgh team v Newcastle Falcons at the Greenyards tomorrow at 6pm. He’s wearing the number 14. Jason Baggot is on the bench and a number of players who have worn Borders club jerseys in the past (Anton Bresler, Nathan Fowles, Simon Berghan and others) will feature. Admission is £10 with £5 concessions and you can book online via Edinburgh Rugby or pay on the gate.
Also tomorrow at Mansfield Park the shadow sides of Hawick and Melrose will do battle in a warm-up – Hawick Force v Melrose Storm at 7.30pm.
Thursday, August 24th, 2017
Borderers sign Pro contract with French side
Two Scottish Women’s International players from the Borders, Chloe Rollie (top) and Scotland captain Lisa Thomson have signed pro contracts with French club side Lille Metropole.
The French team is in the Top 8 league over there and Scotland’s first pro, Jade Konkel, has already signed a deal with the club. Lisa grew up in Hawick and has played for Melrose Ladies while full back Chloe, born in Edinburgh but raised in Jedburgh, has also played for Melrose. They are both Stage 3 Players in the BT Sport Academy.
Pictures courtesy Scottish Rugby.
Saturday, August 19th, 2017
Hawick take scalp of Gala in thrilling Booker Border League match
Hawick began their Booker Border League campaign in style as they aim to pick up their 50th Border League title in the history of the longest rugby league competition in the World. Taking on Gala in the first competitive game of the season Hawick raced to a comfortable 22-7 lead at Mansfield Park with three tries from Ross Combe (pictured), Lewis Ferguson and Dom Buckley, two of them converted by Ali Weir who also kicked a penalty, to a try by Scott Wilkinson converted by Gregor Hunter.
Playing against the wind in the second half, Hawick conceded two converted tries by Gregor Hunter and Rex Jeffrey (both goaled by Hunter) to get to within a point of the Greens, but a pushover score by Matt Landels gave Hawick the bonus point win by 27-22. Watch the tries here.
Friday, August 18th, 2017
Melrose’s D.O.R. Mike Dalgetty breaks silence on Super Six Rugby
Melrose Director Of Rugby Mike Dalgetty has spoken for the first time publicly about Scottish Rugby’s plans to introduce Semi Pro Rugby in the form of a Super Six Competition from season 2019-20 – something which will represent the biggest change in club rugby in Scotland ever. Amateur rugby below that level will be compulsory and the Melrose stalwart said, in an exclusive interview with Borders Rugby TV, that the change is likely to affect clubs in different ways. He said that there is still a lot of dialogue to have between Melrose and the SRU about the format of the competition and the finer points of what is being proposed before his club makes the decision to bid for one of the six franchises (at least one of them to be located in the Borders.)
Mike also talks about the impact amateur rugby would have on clubs and updates us on the plans for Melrose’s 1883 Legacy Project, which aims to bring a 3G pitch and floodlights to The Greenyards followed by a new stadium at a later date. Watch the interview here.
Thursday, August 17th, 2017
Rob Forrest voted in for second term as Selkirk President
Selkirk RFC have announced that their President, Rob Forrest (pictured) will lead the club into the 2017-18 season. This follows their AGM in which Vice President Benny Rafferty will also continue in that role. The club recently had a successful tour to Barcelona where they took on and beat local side Vilanova 60-21 in a 10-try rout. Darren Clapperton scored four of them with James Bett bagging a hat trick. The club are preparing for their opening match in BT National 1 league against Musselburgh on September 2nd, while home fans will need to wait until the week after to see them play at Philiphaugh against Aberdeen Grammar.
Thursday, August 17th, 2017
Darcy Graham and James Bhatti called up for Scotland Training Squad
Darcy Graham, the flying Hawick back, and Melrose prop James Bhatti (both pictured above) have been called up to Gregor Townsend’s 41-man squad which will take part in a training camp at St Andrews on Sunday. Graham, who has played for Scotland Under 20 and is now contracted to Edinburgh, and will make his debut on Friday in a pre-season warm-up match against Sale. He has been tipped for a long time as the next Borders Rugby superstar, and for good reason. Bhatti has enjoyed several years in the front row at the Greenyards club and recently joined Glasgow Warriors. Scotland’s Head Coach feels that the two are very much ready to step up to international rugby and their experience, along with five other uncapped players, will stand them both in good stead for the future.
There is plenty of Borders representation in the squad with current skipper Greig Laidlaw, Scotland’s most-capped player, Ross Ford, and Stuart Hogg, who is on his way back from injury, all included alongside former Selkirk players Lee Jones and Alex Dunbar. Allan Dell, who wore the Gala jersey for many matches is on the list, as is Anton Bresler, who turned out for Melrose on a few occasions last season. Scotland will play three tough matches at BT Murrayfield in November against Samoa, Australia and New Zealand, with the latter two fixtures already sold out.
Tuesday, August 8th, 2017
Super Six for Club Rugby to be launched by Scottish Rugby for 2019-20 season
The big announcement from the SRU AGM at the weekend concerning the future of club rugby in Scotland has certainly raised many eyebrows and appears to have been well received. The plan announced by Mark Dodson (pictured), the Chief Executive for Scottish Rugby, for the club game sets out a different structure from season 2019-20 with a clear line between Professional and Semi-Pro rugby, and Amateur Rugby. It has been clear that many BT National 1 clubs have felt themselves come under pressure to pay players just to keep up with other clubs with deeper pockets. The art of poaching players from other clubs has been the talk of the club game for several years now, and many clubs have lobbied the SRU because they are frankly sick of it. Some clubs have ambitions of becoming semi pro or even fully professional, while others want to stay in a division they are comfortable with both in terms of where they play in the league system and financially. So the SRU have taken everything on board and have been conducting extensive research before announcing changes in a couple of seasons.
Here’s a brief breakdown of the key points:
The BT Premiership will be dissolved and replaced by a six team franchise competition known as “Super Six.” Players won’t be salaried but they will be paid to play games and train.
Franchises are available to all clubs including those in lower divisions. One team will come from the Borders, one from Caledonia, one from East Scotland and one from West Scotland but two other “floating” teams. One of these teams could even be a new team made up from an area – is this an opportunity for The South of Scotland to return as a Super Six team? Whether or not the region could sustain more than one team is very much open to debate but the possibility is there, and if there is enough interest who knows? The franchise process will open in Autumn 2017 with a decision being made in February 2018 as to who the six teams will be.
The Super Six teams will play each other three times (15 games) with an extra 5 matches played in a cross-border competition (probably the British & Irish Cup). There will be no promotion or relegation for five years. Each club will have a squad of 35 players (or more if injuries occur.) SRU will contribute £62,500 per team for player payments – the other half coming from the club.
The SRU will appoint and pay for Head Coaches, Physios, Analysts and Strength & Conditioning coaches up to a cost of £65,000. These positions will be filled exclusively from the SRU’s performance programme. All travel and accommodation costs relating to the Cross-Border competition will be met by the SRU. The Management and Operational Responsibility for all six franchises will come from the high performance rugby arm of the Union and not the Domestic Rugby arm.
Four fully amateur leagues of 12 teams will exist below the Super Six league. The Scottish Championship will be the top tier, with National 1, 2 and 3 below that. Super Six 2nd XVs will be slotted into National 1 but could be promoted through to the Championship in future seasons. Strict amateurism will be enforced. Genuine expenses will be allowed but player payments will be outlawed. Any club failing to comply will be reported to HMRC with league points being deducted, fines and automatic relegation being potential punishments.
Player-coach positions will be outlawed. Each Championship club will receive £9,000 per year to help with off-field structure or medical provision. NL1 clubs will get £5,000 annually, Division 2 clubs £3,500 and NL3 clubs £2,000 each. There will be prize money for league winners. £10,000 will be in the pot for winners of the Scottish Championship, £7,500 for NL1 table-toppers, £5,000 for winners of NL2 and NL3 top club will get £4000. The 10 regional league winning clubs will each receive £3000.
Picture: Scottish Rugby
Sunday, August 6th, 2017
Watsonians win the Peebles 7s
Current holders of the Riverside Rock Kings of the 7s, Watsonians, came from two scores behind in both the semi final and final of the Peebles 7s against Melrose and Gala respectively to lift the first piece of silverware of the season at The Gytes. Round 1 of the tournament now takes place pre-season before the second instalment at Gala in April 2018. Watsonians won for the first time since 2012, coming back from 0-12 down against Gala to comfortably take the trophy 31-12, but it was their semi final win which shocked everyone as they looked to be down and out against a slick Melrose team, but three late tries saw them through against the odds. Ali Harris won the Player of the Tournament award. In the other semi final Gala beat Edinburgh Accies. A Pool system involving 12 sides was adopted for the first time at The Gytes. Watch the final here. ITV Report on the 7s can be viewed here. Watch highlights from the two semi finals here. There’s action from behind the try line and a “What Happens Next?” here. Check out some of the best tries from the Pool Stages here. Finally here are highlights from hosts Peebles’ games in the Pool stages against Earlston and Edinburgh Accies.
Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017
Graham Speirs named Gala captain again this season
Gala Full Back Graham Speirs has once again been named as Maroons captain for 2017-18 with Gregor Hunter the Vice Captain. Graham has been a member of the club for many years and is a prolific try scorer for the club and a vital part of the 7s squad, along with Hunter, who recently represented his country at 7s. He is also Development Officer at the club.
Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017
Doddie Weir opens The Scotland Shop in Edinburgh
Duns-based business The Scotland Shop, which has been operating online since its formation in 2008, has opened its first physical shop in Edinburgh, at 10 Queensferry Street, and the always-colourful former Melrose, Scotland and British Lion rugby player Doddie Weir was on hand to assist owner Anna White in cutting the tartan ribbon.
Sunday, July 30th, 2017
Borders & East Lothian U16 & U18 teams lose in Aberdeen
In Aberdeen this afternoon in their second matches in the Academy series, both Borders & East Lothian sides lost out to Caledonia.
The Under 16s went down 47-31 to Caledonia in the first match, before the Under 18s lost 23-14 in their match.
Next Sunday will see the U16s and U18s compete at Lasswade RFC against Glasgow & West. Pictured is exciting fly half Christian Townsend who started in the number 10 jersey for the Borders & East Lothian at Netherdale on Wednesday night against Edinburgh U16, no doubt making his father Gregor proud.
Wednesday, July 26th, 2017
Two out of three wins for the Borders & East Lothian in Academy matches
The Borders & East Lothian Under 16, Under 18 and Under 20 squads did battle against Edinburgh at the 3G pitch at Netherdale today and came out with two wins out of three. Despite going down 14-34, the Under 16s played some good rugby with Jed’s Aiden Bambrick and Hawick’s Rhys Tait scoring two tries which were both converted by Christian Townsend, son of Gregor, who was one of many high profile Scottish Rugby representatives in attendance.
The Under 18s went into a 10-0 lead thanks to early touchdowns from Alex Clarke (Preston Lodge) and Ben Muncaster (North Berwick) before going behind 10-13. But a late try by another North Berwick player, Eck Allan, sealed the game for the home side.
On paper it was a very strong Borders & East Lothian Under 20 squad which lined up, and former Jed and now Hawick scrum half Gary Munro sizzled with three penalties and a try to run the show and take his team into a comfortable 17-0 lead before retiring injured. Edinburgh got a converted try back but further scores from Jed’s Finlay Scott and Melrose’s Ruairi Campbell sealed the win.
Academy Manager for The Borders & East Lothian region, Chris Dewsnap (pictured) gave us his reaction after all three games. Watch the action here.
Sunday, July 23rd, 2017
Clark Laidlaw talks about his new role as Head Coach of New Zealand 7s
Clark Laidlaw (pictured in Jed gear a few years back!) cut his teeth along with his famous family at Riverside Park, home of Jedforest. He went to New Zealand following his career as a player which culminated in Scotland 7s appearances. He coached at Taranaki and was involved with the New Zealand 7s team under legend Gordon Tietjens before becoming assistant coach at London Irish. But he is now in charge of the NZ 7s set-up, the first non-Kiwi to hold that position, and he gave an interview Mark Watson of New Zealand’s Newstalk ZB Radio Station. Listen to it here.
Sunday, July 23rd, 2017
Scotland Women’s 7s squad under Scott Wight win Rugby Europe trophy
Scotland’s Women’s 7s squad demolished the opposition at the Rugby 7s Europe tournament in Hungary scoring 367 points and conceding just one try, at the very end of the last match in the tournament against Germany, who they beat 33-5 in the Final. Head Coach, Melrose’s Scott Wight, has now won back-to-back trophies with his squad, a quarter of them with Borders connections, and this puts Scotland’s Women’s team back at the top table of World Rugby again.
Scotland has a habit in all sports of struggling against the world’s smallest teams, but there was no signs of this as they trounced all before them, including Malta, Romania, Latvia and Finland. Listen to Scott’s reaction here.
Saturday, July 22nd, 2017
Bruce McNeil to lead The Greens again next season
Hawick’s captain from last season, Bruce McNeil (pictured), has been given the captain’s arm band to take them through the 2017-18 campaign, with Lee Armstrong his deputy. The two stalwarts, along with new Head Coach, Darren Cunningham, are confident that the squad, featuring a lot of new blood including youngsters stepping up from semi junior rugby, can deliver the goods on the pitch as they aim to finish in a top four position. Former back row player Brian Renwick has taken over the role of Director of Rugby so that the Head Coach can get on with matters on the field.
In other news, Hawick’s Rory Hutton, who has had a brilliant career in the famous green shirt, has left the club to take up a position alongside another ex Green Scott McLeod, at Watsonians. The 30 year old now lives and works in Edinburgh and he’s looking forward to the new challenge.
Saturday, July 22nd, 2017
Melrose need a big push for their 3G Pitch
Melrose Rugby Club’s plans for a new 3G Pitch and floodlights are ambitious but would provide them, and the community, with fantastic facilities. It would also enable them to submit planning for the development of a community sports facility at the home of Rugby 7s.
The crowd funding page they launched a few months ago has set the target of £150,000 by August 4th but so far only 6% (under £9,500) has been pledged, and time is running out. If you would like to donate to this click on the following link where you will find full details.
Friday, July 21st, 2017
Peebles 7s Draw Announced
The draw has been made for the Green Field Marquees 7s which will take place on Saturday, August 5th, at The Gytes.
For the first time it will be a Pool system featuring 12 teams in four pools of three. Holders Melrose have been drawn with Jedforest and Hawick, while hosts Peebles have Edinburgh Accies and Earlston. Pool A sees Gala, Selkirk and Berwick square off while in the other, Kings of the 7s champions Watsonians will need to get past Biggar and Kelso to make the semi finals.
POOL A: SELKIRK, GALA, BERWICK
POOL B: EARLSTON, PEEBLES, EDINBURGH ACCIES
POOL C: BIGGAR, KELSO, WATSONIANS
POOL D: MELROSE, JEDFOREST, HAWICK
Friday, July 21st, 2017
Borders & East Lothian U16s, U18s & U20s to face Edinburgh at Netherdale 3G
The Borders & East Lothian will play Edinburgh at U16, U18 & U20 levels on the Netherdale 3G pitch on Wednesday 26 July at 4.30, 6.00 & 7.30pm respectively.
The U16 & U18s will then face Caledonia in Aberdeen, before taking on Glasgow & The West at Lasswade on Sunday 6th August at 1.30 & 3.15pm before a Finals Day at BT Murrayfield for all age grades on Sunday 13th August. Pictured is Melrose Wasps player Lanyon Rowley, who is one of the contenders to be picked for the Borders & East Lothian U18 team.
Thursday, July 20th, 2017
Draw made for the Borders Shield
The seven Borders East League teams will take part in this season’s Borders Shield competition, currently held by Hawick Harlequins, who last season beat Berwick 29-0 in the final. The Quins (pictured below) also won the Fraser James Partnership Ltd Trophy for Best Borders East League team last year.
Hawick Harlequins have a home draw against Duns, while neighbours Hawick Linden host Berwick. In the other tie Gala YM will play at Netherdale against Earlston while Langholm have a bye into the Semi Finals. The ties will take place on Saturday 11th November.
Monday, July 17th, 2017
Selkirk looking for pre-season warm up game
Selkirk RFC are looking to play a 1st XV pre-season warm-up match either at Philiphaugh or away from home on Saturday 19th August. If anyone can assist please contact team manager Tom Ramage at the club on 01750 22853 or 07709 215255, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Selkirk are also hosting a School of Rugby camp at Philiphaugh on August 9th and 10th for P1-P6 players and also P7-U15 age group for both boys and girls. Places can be booked from Director of Rugby Ewen Robbie on 07584 655059 or email@example.com
Wednesday, July 12th, 2017
Melrose sign exciting teenager / Mark Robertson lands coaching role
17 Year Old Andrew Jardine has joined Melrose from Biggar. Andrew has already been selected for Scotland Under 18s and has trained with the BT Academy. He joins former Kelso front row Grant Shiells in signing for the Greenyards club. Meanwhile former Melrose star Mark Robertson (pictured) has joined the BT Academy coaching team to develop young talent. Mark has been appointed to the Borders and East Lothian Academy as a replacement for Mike Legget who will move to the Glasgow and West area.
Sunday, July 9th, 2017
Peebles 7s draw to be streamed live
The rugby season locally will get underway again on August 5th at 1.30pm with Round 1 of the Belhaven Riverside Rock Kings of the 7s 2018 tournament at Peebles. The tournament, sponsored by Green Field Marquees, at the Gytes switched to pre-season last year, bucking the trend of the other rounds on the circuit, meaning that whoever wins will top the table for eight months before Round 2 at Netherdale when the Gala 7s takes place on April 8th. The draw for the Peebles 7s will take place on July 21st at the clubhouse and will be streamed live. Borders Rugby TV will be providing extensive coverage of the event including action from the four Pools featuring the 12 teams, the Semi Finals and the Final. We will also be following the home team on their journey throughout the tournament. Melrose (pictured) won the event in 2016 captained by Grant Runciman.
Saturday, July 8th, 2017
Gregor Young retains Jed captaincy
Gregor Young (pictured) has been announced as captain of Jedforest for another season. The centre and former Scottish 7s international will lead his side into the BT National 1 campaign starting in September. Paulo Ferreira has been named as Vice Captain. Selkirk have signed Prop Luke Pettie from Gala and will also be joined at Philiphaugh by Second Row/Flanker Callum Leckey from Belfast Harlequins and Utility Back Steven Hamilton, previously a Dalkeith player. Meanwhile Melrose have signed Grant Shiells, the former Kelso, Rotherham and Edinburgh Rugby front row specialist. Richard Taylor is stepping down from player duties to take up the position of defence coach at the club.