Glasgow Claim Back-to-Back Melrose 7s

Glasgow Warriors powered to their second consecutive win at the Aberdeen Asset Management Melrose 7s after defeating surprise finalists Germany 36-21 in the final at the Greenyards.

As well as the Germans and Glasgow, the 20 amateur Scottish clubs were joined by Aviva Premiership side Wasps and North West University from South Africa. If the weather held out, the prospect of another exciting day of rugby was there for the taking.

With the first round of the competition largely featuring those Borders clubs fighting for valuable Kings of the 7s points, some quality rugby was on show, the performance of Scottish 7s internationalist Gregor Young for home club Jed Forest standing out among others. As the crowds quickly built in the ground, Jed were joined by Aberdeen, Ayr, Watsonians, Currie, Dundee, Kelso and Glasgow Hawks in the second round.

With the hosts along with Gala, Hawick, Edinburgh Accies and the guest teams all receiving byes into this stage of the tournament, interesting matchups were quickly created with the form of the guests likely to help determine the results. Melrose got off to a good start, dismissing Hawks 35-17 with victories for Wasps and Watsonians over Aberdeen and Hawick soon following.

At the time it was almost a welcome surprise for the Borders fans when Germany defeated BT Premiership semi-finalists Ayr 24-10, breaking the tradition of the guest international team failing to produce a decent result in the tournament (remember Trinidad and Tobago falling to Boroughmuir last year). On a slightly darker note, however, play was stopped for more than 10 minutes as one German player was removed from the field of play with a suspected neck injury.

Kelso and Accies had to go to extra time in the next tie with the capital side prevailing. North West University became the only guest side not to make it through to the quarter-finals after Jed-Forest got the better of them, winning 21-17 in a close-fought contest.

Previous champions Glasgow Warriors were last to make an appearance in the tournament, facing a tie against Dundee. The eventual 31-0 scoreline made the Warriors look impressive, but it was a mixed performance with improvement certainly needed if Glasgow were to once again lift up the Ladies Cup.

With the last 8 now confirmed, Melrose took on Wasps for a place in the semi-final and it was the visiting team who started strongly, scoring a couple of quick tries, although missed conversions may come back to haunt them. The hosts then managed to strike back through Tom Wilson, Bruce Colvine and Neil-Irvine-Hess, allowing them to hold off for a 19-15 victory.

Attention quickly moved on to seeing whether Germany’s previous win was a fluke or a performance consistent with their standard. 2nd division Watsonians have always stepped up their game in the 7s season, however it soon became clear that Germany had sent over a strong team. Quick tries came from Heimpel and Vollenkemper, although Adam Hastings (son of Gav) was keeping Watsonians in touch. In the end, however, the Germans had too much power as they cruised to a 22-14 victory.

Next up saw the battle of two Scottish 7s heavyweights, Jed and Accies. With each side holding three 7s internationalists in their ranks, yet another tight contest ensued and with Gregor Young again impressing alongside twin Lewis, only a skewed conversion by Alex Blair separated the two sides with Blair’s Accies going down 19-17 to the Borderers.

Last up the Warriors faced up against Gala, who had planned the day with Grayson Hart in their ranks but was a late call up to warm the bench for Edinburgh against Munster. With or without him, the Warriors dominated Gala to win 26-12.

Despite Germany’s impressive performances, it was still Melrose who went into the first semi-final as favourites, although by half time they were 5-10 down with Wilson’s try providing their only points.

Germany were showcasing an impressive defensive performance although Austin Lockington did find a gap under the posts to give Melrose the lead. However, it was only temporary and Germany eventually booked their place in the final with the final score reading 22-12 in their favour.

Glasgow had improved in their quarter-final, although Jed-Forest can still be a dangerous side in 7s. Glenn Bryce and Rory Hughes both got on the scoresheet as the Warriors won 17-12, however, things could have been completely different had Bryce not managed to stop Young after he made a clear break, although he did score a try of his own earlier in the game. Interestingly, Young was drafted up to the Warriors team for the final as injury cover…

To give Glasgow a chance to recover, an “exhibition” match was played between Melrose Ladies and Stirling County Ladies who were both competing for the Gentlemen’s Cup. Once again, it was Melrose who dominated proceedings, allowing them to retain the Cup for another year.

But before long it was time for the final. Glasgow got off the mark quickest with Niko Matawalu going over early, closely followed by Fraser Lyle, who last week was with the international 7s side in Tokyo and looked very impressive. However, Germany now took hold of the game with the big Anjo Buchman crashing over the line, leaving the scoreline reading 12-7 in Glasgow’s favour at half time.

The floodgates opened up in the second half as Germany showed their international class, Clemens von Grumbkow’s and Carlos Sortera Merz’s tries giving the European’s the lead for the first time, although Lyle soon levelled the gap with Gregor Hunter’s conversion reducing the deficit to 2 points.

In the end Glasgow showed their professional strength as Murray McConnell crossed before Gregor Young’s brace helped put the Warriors out of sight as they eventually won 26-21 to take back-to-back wins from Melrose.

With tournament policy meaning that teams tend not to come for more than two years at a time, next year’s competition will be lifted by another team, but will an amateur club be the first to claim victory since Melrose’s triumph of 2011?

SRBlog Player of the Tournament: It’s hard to single out a single player for a tournament of this structure, but it is almost impossible to ignore Gregor Young whose performances for Glasgow and Jed made him stand out, proving to be instrumental in leading the attack, no matter who he played for.

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From the Borders town of Melrose, Ruairidh has had more than enough time to admire the game by spending most of his playing career so far in the rather lonely position of wing. When time allows he may also be found with a whistle in his hand attempting control a disgruntled prop twice his size.
Follow Ruairidh on twitter @ru_campbell

18 comments on “Glasgow Claim Back-to-Back Melrose 7s

  1. Standoffalot on

    Very impressed with Gregor Young over the weekend. How old is he and would he be worth a contract with Glasgow or Edinburgh? On the weekend’s evidence the answer is yes, but I’ve not seen anything of him in the 15 a side game.

  2. Puffin billy on

    The young twins play 15s for Jed in division 2 .
    They have never shone in 15s only 7s
    Well documented why they left Scottish 7s squad.
    But To play pro rugby for Glasgow or Edinburgh is never going to happen

    • aligator on

      “Well documented why they left Scottish 7s squad.”

      Where was this documented? I have not seen the explanation why they both left the 7’s set-up. A tragedy to loose such talent for our national 7’s team.

  3. Neil on

    I know that this is only 7’s but it was interesting to see how well some of the amature teams faired against the professional teams such as Glasgow and Wasps. Can this be taken as evidence that some of our top amature players could make it to the highest levels and play for a pro team, shouold a sufficient number of pro teams ever exist in our country? Shouold we also be considering some of thes players to represent our country on the international stage- I wonder?

    • Angus on

      No it can’t, No and No

      “Only 7s” – you mean the sport that is in the Commonwealth and Olympic games?

      • Neil on

        Angus, i was referrring to the full 15 a side game as opposed to 7’s. I know the two games are quite different but, as an eperiament, I would love to pitch some of the better amature teams against edinburgh and Glasgow. You may get a surprise at how close the score would be. it would also be the operfect opportunity for some of the more tallented individuals from gala, melrose etc to shine and be noticed.

      • FF on

        Neil – whilst analysing Scottish rugby through the medium of scorelines on the internet, have you ever looked at results from the British and Irish Cup?

        Until this season, Scotland entered its best amateur teams, strengthened with fringe pro-players (and occasionally amalgamated amateur sides). They played against the amateur clubs in Wales, the A-sides of the Irish provinces and teams from the English Championship. Except for occasional exceptions, Scottish sides generally got well beaten.

        If Scottish amateur sides played Edinburgh or Glasgow they would get humped. It is utterly fatuous to pretend otherwise.

      • Phoenix on

        I think only Mike Fedo was released from the 7s squad and playing for Edinburgh Accies. No other players were released from the look of it. Most of the players on show were indeed proper ameteur players. There are many good players in the amateur ranks but they will also have jobs and other commitments. Whilst no doubt talented, not all of them would be in a position to turn pro if the option came up. Whilst it seams very glamerous, first year pro contracts are often less than 15k a year which is not a good option for many players. Still it is good to see how competitive the teams can be. Jed are an unsusual one as they clearly excel as 7s but, having played against them twice this year, they ar enothing special at 15s

      • Ruairidh Campbell on

        Fedo was not involved with the 7s team last week in Tokyo. From those who were in Hong Kong/Tokyo the only players involved this weekend were: Fraser Lyle (Warriors), Nyle Godsmark (Accies) and Damien Hoyland (Melrose). However, the likes of Accies and Jed have a number of players that have been capped by the 7s squad or who were released by pro teams. The contract situation (particularly in 7s at the minute) is a problem, however, the SRU’s finances are probably not in the best situation to allow the salary pot for young players to grow. However, the new academy structure is designed to allow more young players to get professional coaching as it replaces the EDP structure so hopefully the youth game in Scotland will continue to grow – a strong performance from the U20s in the World Championship in Italy will certainly help them go in the right direction.

  4. Neil on

    Just read FF’s comments about SJ and his antics at the Tokyo 7’s. As you know I thought he was a complete waste of space before this but I cant even put into words what I think of him now. Someone ought to fire the fool.

      • Neil on

        Honestly, when he was our coach he took us back to the dark ages by transforming us from an average team to a team of no hopers. He did exactly the same when he was coach of Wales. We should have sacked him but instead moved him upstairs to do erm………. NOTHING except perhaps travel to far flung lands on ‘fact finding’ missions. He is a highly paid individual who we could do without and he served notice on the 7s team just before they are about to play an important match. Was he expecting to motivate them? The only hope is that the SRU serve notice on him. They are always on about saving money but he is costing them a fortune to do next to nothing. I think everyone feels the same way on this blog.

  5. Scafell on

    Nothing on Mark Bennetts Shoulder injury, a doubt for the RWC. Centres dropping like flies. Going to haveto throw some untested youngsters (Dean etc..) in those warm up games. Nightmare.

  6. pragmatic optomist on

    Really sorry to hear about Bennett. What the fxxx is going on?
    For the first time in years we have 3 top class international centres to choose from, and hey bloody presto, they’re all under the surgeons knife within weeks of each other. With Maitland also injured, we’re left with Hogg and Seymour from our exciting back line.
    Feeling pissed off about this. We seem to be collecting more injuries than the other countries combined.

    • Neil on

      We seem to get our fair share of injuries, suspensions and general bad luck but I think the problem here is lack of strength in depth. The solution as if it wasn’t bloody obvious- we need more pro teams.

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