Edinburgh lift Ladies' Cup at Melrose Sevens

A glorious, brisk spring day was the backdrop for this year’s Melrose Sevens and it was an equally glorious, briskly played victory for Edinburgh Rugby who, at their first invitation to the event, lifted the Ladies Cup after an exhilarating final against Jed-Forest, who pushed them to the wire.



None prouder of the achievement was team coach Roddy Grant, with strong family links to the Borders and a rich sevens playing history of his own.

Clutching the prized silverware he said: “It’s such a special feeling. Throughout the tournament the guys showed so much heart and desire, it fills me with such pride.

“We just had one forward, George Turner, no back rows, so the backs were having to scrum and take on lineouts, so it was a real test for the squad.

“The scoreline - 29-19 - is probably a bit flattering for us as it was a really tight game but I’m just so proud.

“They did everything I asked of them, everyone played their hearts out and they’re champions.”

Round 2

With a bye in the first round, Edinburgh took on GHA - who had earlier seen off Stewart’s Melville - in the last game of round two. It was the west coast side who got out of the blocks first, Scotland Women assistant coach Peter Jericevich stepping on the gas to break up the middle of the field and cross, duly converting his own score.

Edinburgh came back soon after, a Strauss offload to Chris Dean put the centre over in the corner. Beard put on another five points shortly after, Fowles adding the extras. The latter then recycled the kick-off well, passing out to Dean, inside to Helu and Hoyland went over in the corner. Fowles then backed himself on the break inside GHA 22 to bring the score to 22-7 at half time to the capital club.

GHA added the first score of the second half as Grant-Suttie made a mazy run to cross before half-time sub Sasa Tofilau showed some deft footwork to score twice in a matter of minutes, the extras added by Fowles to make the final score 36-14.

Quarter final

Next up, Edinburgh met fellow capital club Heriot’s. A cautious first half saw one try from Fowles and Hoyland nearly go over in the corner, though he put his hand up for a knock-on (5-0).

An early steal at the breakdown in the second period of play, from Fowles, saw him cross again, and make it a hat-trick moments later, converting the third try (17-0). A final dot by Hoyland put the score at 22-0 and Edinburgh progress to the penultimate stage.

Semi final

The home side were the next combatants and it was winger Sam Pequeur, a product of the city’s Trinity Academy, who opened the scoring for Melrose with a successful foray up the far side. Edinburgh responded quickly as Hoyland broke into the opposition 22, a sweet show’n’go progressing into the hands of Helu, out to Dean and in to Katoa who crossed, Fowles adding the extras to edge Edinburgh ahead 7-5. The double-hander was repeated moments later to increase the lead to 14-5 before a Bruce Colvine score on the whistle edged Melrose within four points at the break.

It was Pequeur who dotted down again, at the restart and Edinburgh were again chasing the lead. Swift hands after a scrum in Melrose’s 22 saw Beard offloading to Tofilau who sprinted between the uprights, Fowles again nailing the conversion. It was the scrum half who was responsible for the next score, turning a nifty steal into another five points as he reversed the direction of play to leg it up the stand side and touch down.

Into the final minute and Melrose brought back the score to within two points as Irvine-Hess bolted for the line, an initial break being stopped by Fowles. A tricky conversion from the touchline would have levelled the scores on the whistle to necessitate extra time, but the ball went short and Edinburgh were into the final.

Final

Jed-Forest, who had also begun the tournament in the second round, had seen off Selkirk, Belgium and Edinburgh Accies to reach the last game and, as expected, it was a lively encounter with the home crowd firmly behind their Borders rivals.

A nervy opening few minutes saw Gregor Young make the break to put the first points on the board before Helu sprinted away from turnover ball to level the scores. Some big hits were going on in the midfield, a tackle from George Turner resounding as far as the top of the main stand before some outstanding footwork from Katoa saw him dance his way across the whitewash to make it 12-7 at half time.

A series of pick and goes at the re-start put Beard over to extend the lead with Fowles following suit to make it 24-7. As the clock ticked down in the second ten-minute final half, however, Jed responded with a brace of their own to edge them within a try (24-19) of forcing extra time.

With one last push in the closing minute, however, the ball was worked back to the scoreboard end and Tofilau powered through two tackles to seal Edinburgh's victory with the last play of the game, to see Edinburgh win 29-19 and lift the trophy.

Score round-up

First round: Howe of Fife 5 Edinburgh Accies 27; Peebles 17 Boroughmuir 29; Hawick 5 Selkirk 21; Glasgow Hawks 15 Aberdeen Rugby 19; Kelso 12 Watsonians 45; Currie 22 Dundee High 5; Marr 24 Stirling County 5; GHA 28 Stewart’s Melville 17.
Second round: Edinburgh Accies 33 Ayr 17; Boroughmuir 12 Gala 33; Selkirk 10 Jed-Forest 24; Aberdeen Rugby 14 Belgium 34; Watsonians 24 Seventise 19; Currie 12 Melrose 17; Marr 21 Heriot’s 22; GHA 14 Edinburgh Rugby 36.
Quarter finals: Edinburgh Accies 38 Gala 14; Jed-Forest 24 Belgium 14; Watsonians 24 Melrose 24 (29 ET); Heriot’s 0 Edinburgh Rugby 22.
Semi finals: Edinburgh Accies 15 Jed-Forest 26; Melrose 24 Edinburgh Rugby 26
Final: Jed-Forest 19 Edinburgh Rugby 29.

Edinburgh Rugby 7s squad

1. Chris Dean (c)

2. Andries Strauss (vc)

3. Will Helu

4. George Turner

5. Sasa Tofilau

6. Otulea Katoa

7. Sam Beard

8. Damien Hoyland

9. Tom Galbraith

10. Nathan Fowles

Coach: Roddy Grant
Manager: Stevie Scott

[All photos: Craig Watson]

Written by
Isobel Irvine