Gutsy Greens turn on Milntown magic to secure Langholm title

A triumphant Hawick side bask in the glory of their victory at Langholm Sevens on Saturday
A triumphant Hawick side bask in the glory of their victory at Langholm Sevens on Saturday

Hawick lifted the Scott Cup in a thoroughly entertaining Edinburgh Woollen Mill Langholm Sevens tournament at Milntown, beating Melrose 31-10 in the final.

And seasoned sevens campaigner Keith Davies said the victory went a long way to proving the doubters wrong.

Davies, who was injured as he sent their quarter-final tie against Jed into extra-time, told the Hawick News: “A couple of people had said we only turn up for our own tournament but we turned up here at Langholm and showed what we can do. I think we answered a lot of our critics.”

The dry conditions were perfect for the abbreviated game and the crowd were treated to plenty thrilling action.

Hawick emerged victors not only through skill, but also sheer determination and commitment.

It was a second success at Langholm for Hawick skipper Bruce McNeil who was also in the 2009 winning side, as was Michael Robertson. Also in the winning seven on Saturday was Neil Renwick, and his father Jim was delighted, having been in the winning team against Melrose 30 years ago.

Melrose led 10-5 at half-time in the final with tries from Ross Ovens and Fraser Thomson, to one from Rory Hutton. But Hawick found a new lease of life in the second half and ran in tries from Renwick, McNeil, Greg Cottrell and Lee Armstrong, with three converted by Hutton. Cottrell was presented with the Archie Smith Memorial Cup for player of the tournament by Billy Smith.

Hawick certainly had no easy run to the final. They had a more comfortable than expected opener against Edinburgh Accies, but then came a firecracker of a tie against holders Jed-Forest, who had disposed of Dumfries.

Jed produced a sparkling first half with Robert Hogg and Ross Goodfellow running in tries to put them 10-0 up at the break. Hogg secured another touuchdown which Chisholm converted but Hawick stormed back and tries from Renwick, McNeil and Davies, with a Hutton conversion, forced extra time at 17-17.

Both sides looked like scoring but tremendous tackling kept them at bay and it was five minutes into extra-time before Renwick eventually raced in to put Hawick through 22-17, with Jed failing to reach the final for the first time on the spring circuit.

In the semi-final Hawick faced a Watsonians side that had edged out Carlisle Barbarians 10-5 in extra-time and earlier went through by virtue of a conversion 17-15 against Selkirk. The English select outfit had crushed Langholm in the first round.

Gary Johnstone, Craig Russell and McNeil, plus two conversions by Hutton gave Hawick a comfortable 19-0 lead. Watsonians suddenly began to click and Jamie Niven, Scott McKean and Tom Hart secured tries, all of which were converted. But tries from Cottrell and Johnstone saw Hawick into the final.

In the top half of the draw Melrose reached the semi-finals at the expense of Berwick and Peebles, the latter making it a stiff test before going out 24-17.

Melrose then faced a Gala side fresh from recent Scottish and Border Cup success and had disposed of Kelso.

Gala went in front with a Fraser Hunter try but Melrose soon took the upper hand with tries from Andrew Skeen (3) and Nick McGrath. Craig Robertson was to the fore with a try for Gala but Melrose held out 26-17.

n THERE was to be no repeat performance of their sevens success at Peebles on Sunday as Hawick crashed out of the Gytes tournament in the first round to Kings of the Sevens leaders Jed-Forest. The Riverside Park outfit made it all the way to the final where they lost out to Watsonians.