In a packed Saturday of rugby there was heartbreak and joy for our local teams in the Borders. Despite scoring the only try of the game through Ruaridh Knott, Melrose lost their BT Premiership Final at home to Ayr 8-12, and despite ending the season on top of the table, it’s Ayr who become Scottish Premiership Champions by winning the Play-off Final, with four Frazier Climo penalties proving decisive at The Greenyards. There are those who believe a league should be a league, and play-offs shouldn’t come into it, but rules are rules and before the 18 games were played at the start of the season all clubs knew what the situation was, however, many will hope that there will be a change in the future and that Scottish Club Rugby will follow the English Championship in scrapping the controversial format. But putting that aside, it was a gutsy display by Ayr who had to win it the hard way at the ground of rivals Melrose who had not lost a game since October. Jason Baggott kicked Melrose’s other points with a penalty. The two teams do battle again next week at the home of Scottish Rugby for the chance to win the BT Cup, and for Melrose, who have lost their last five finals at the National Stadium, they will be desperate to put this result to the back of their minds and reverse today’s result. Watch highlights here.
In the big game at Poynder Park Kelso beat Peebles 17-11 to secure promotion back to National League 1 but they didn’t collect a bonus point, so Cartha Queens Park go up as National 2 Champions. In Division 3 St Boswells had the chance to not only get promoted but to win the Third Division, however things didn’t go as planned and they lost at home to Dumfries 5-24 to end their campaign in fourth place, just falling short of landing their fourth straight promotion.
In the Hawick 7s, Gala were the surprise winners for the first time since 1996 when they came from 19-10 down in the quarter final against Jedforest to win that game, then knock out Edinburgh Accies 39-10 before defeating Watsonians 26-24 in the Final. Watsonians stay on top of the Belhaven Riverside Rock Kings of the 7s table with a clear lead from Edinburgh Accies, Melrose and Gala ahead of Round 5 at Berwick tomorrow. Watch the final here.