Hawick Linden made the trip to Carrickfergus Sevens at the weekend and were unfortunate to be in a very tough group.
First up were the NGN 7, set up in memory of Noel, Graham and Nevin Spence who all tragically died last year. Former Ulster player Nevin’s connections were evident as the NGN 7 contained some Ulster contracted players and included John Afoa in their coaching team. The Linden squad were suffering from the previous day’s activities and had no answer to the NGN’s size and pace but did extremely well to only go down 38-0.
It didn’t get any easier in the second tie as they came up against a Newcastle Exiles team whose squad were all South Sea Islanders and typically big hitters, Blaine Willison doing well to pick himself up after a particularly big hit that drew gasps from the crowd. The Linden really deserved more for their efforts in this game but just couldn’t score before losing 26-0.
Both the NGN and Newcastle Exiles teams wouldn’t look out of place on the Borders sevens circuit.
Linden’s final group game was against John Wills 7, a young side playing for charity, whose speed was too much for a Royal Blues team for whom the previous night’s exertions had caught up with them, but not before Nathan Murray scored two tries and a conversion as John Wills ran out winners by 50-12.
The Hawick Linden squad comprised N. Murray, S. Goodfellow, B. Sutherland, S. Renwick, S. Fairbairn, S. Bouglas, B. Willison and C. Gracie.