Hard graft for Manly

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The Independent Online
Whatever critics might say about the value of sevens - and there are plenty of sceptics in Scotland - the appeal of the world's oldest tournament at Melrose seems to be undiminished.

The star names were resting up for the World Cup but a crowd of 16,000 had nevertheless assembled at The Greenyards by the time Manly emerged from seven gruelling hours of competition to take the title back to Australia.

The significance of the achievement was certainly not lost on the winners, who contested decisions vigorously and literally turned cartwheels in celebration of a final victory over Kelso, who confounded odds of 50- 1 at the outset.

Tournaments like Melrose's can only enhance the overall appeal of rugby but four other border clubs lacking the same tradition or appeal appear to see it is as their right to share the end of season spotlight.

By sticking together they generate sufficient clout to ensure the later stages of next season's new Scottish Cup will be moved to a Sunday to accommodate April sevens.

The alternative would be a border boycott of the Cup and sooner or later a compromise will have to be struck perhaps along the lines of that being suggested by Boroughmuir's coaching director, Bruce Hay, who wants to see the sevens promoters take it in turns to alternate between Saturday and Sunday dates.

MELROSE SEVENS: First round: GHK 19, Boroughmuir 26; Edinburgh Accies 17, Heriot's FP 32; Hawick 7, Currie 17; Stewart's/Melville 33, Selkirk 14. Second round: Melrose 40, Boroughmuir 7; Dundee High 12, Manly 31; Jed-Forest 35, Heriot's 12; Oxford Univ. 24, Watsonians 5; Gala 31, Currie 5; Villagers 52, Langholm 5; Stirling County 21, Stewart's/Melville 12; Kelso 22, Cambridge Univ. 17. Quarter finals: Melrose 14, Manly 38; Jed- Forest 19, Oxford Univ 5; Gala 14, Villagers 33; Stirling County 19, Kelso 24. Semi-finals: Manly 36, Jed-Forest 19; Villagers 14, Kelso 19. Final: Manly 29, Kelso 22.

Kelso: J Thomson, S Lang, G Laing, G Aitchison, A Roxburgh, C Miller, S Bennett.

Manly: B Tuipuleto, M Nakuata, L Donnan, K Reber, R Gallagher, T Herring, S Claydon.

Referee: S Hilditch (Ireland).