Tourney hailed a ‘special event’

Hawick High's girls' under-15 side (back row): Isla Murray, Amy Campbell, Lois Murray and Violet Chipakupaku. Front:  Carly Yule, Ishbel Inglis and Katie Gaylor. Also pictured are Linda Lawson, Bette McLaren and Hawick RFC president Ross Cameron.
Hawick High's girls' under-15 side (back row): Isla Murray, Amy Campbell, Lois Murray and Violet Chipakupaku. Front: Carly Yule, Ishbel Inglis and Katie Gaylor. Also pictured are Linda Lawson, Bette McLaren and Hawick RFC president Ross Cameron.
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Youngsters battled it out for honours at Mansfield Park last Friday at the inaugural Bill McLaren School Sevens rugby tournament.

Organised by Hawick RFC, in partnership with the Bill McLaren Foundation, and supported by the National Lottery, the under-15 event saw eight teams of boys and four squads of girls from secondary schools across the Borders taking part, with Kelso claiming top spot in the boys’ competition.

Hawick High recorded victories over Earlston (21-7) and Berwickshire (46-0) and a loss to Selkirk (12-17).

In the girls’ section, Biggar emerged victorious, with Hawick High runners-up with wins against Earlston (26-0) and Langholm (10-5) and a defeat to Biggar (0-10).

The tourney was staged to celebrate the Commonwealth games and youth sport in Scotland, and to encourage more young people to play rugby.

McLaren Foundation director Linda Lawson, daughter of the legendary rugby commentator, told the Hawick News: “Dad would have been proud and very chuffed that so many boys and girls took part, and from the effort everyone put in to make it such a special event.”

“Raising the profile of rugby in schools was key but also we are trying to help teach the values you can gain from rugby, not just the physicality of it. The life skills like discipline and respect, which young kids can take into later life, are key to what we are trying to achieve.”

Mrs Lawson is hoping that more events like this one will continue to bring more young kids to the sport, especially in the women’s game.

“It was great to see so many girls taking part in the event as we are keen to continue to grow that side of the sport in Scotland,” she said. “The women’s game is growing all over the world but in Scotland it is not yet at a level where the likes of England, New Zealand etc are. But by getting girls playing and interested at school level we are hopeful the game can continue to grow.”

McLaren Foundation secretary and Hawick RFC vice-president, John Thorburn, added: “The event was something we had always had our eye on as we felt it was appropriate given that Bill was a teacher.

“We spoke to the SRU about what age group was the most suitable and they got back to us with the under-15 age range and we felt that was perfect for the event.”

Thorburn continued: “The event was a huge success and I want to thank all those who helped out and who took part and helped to make it a day everyone enjoyed and remembered.”