Youngsters look to build on progress at home event

Earlston sevens

Earlston sevens

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Stopping the Melrose juggernaut is going to be no easy task for any team on this year’s Kings of the Sevens circuit, let alone one that is missing almost half its key players.

What they lack in experience, however, the young Selkirk outfit certainly make up for in heart, and with the home crowd behind them at tomorrow’s Lawrie’s Garage Selkirk Sevens, anything is possible.

Coach Graham Marshall believes his players can put on their best performance so far on home turf.

“This Saturday is going to be a real challenge for the players, as they’ll be defending the cup in front of their own supporters and won’t want to let anyone down,” he said.

“I’ll be telling them to concentrate on getting the basics right, and putting into practice everything we’ve been working on these past 10 weeks. They’ve all been good at working for each other on the pitch, and I’m sure they’ll give the home crowd plenty to cheer about come Saturday.”

Melrose have already secured the Kings title following victories over Hawick and Gala at last weekend’s respective finals at Kelso and Earlston.

Committed performances at both events, however, saw the Souters take another eight points to consolidate their sixth place on the table and Marshall has nothing but praise for his squad of young players.

“We’ve had to make a lot of adjustments to the squad that won two trophies on last year’s circuit, and when you’re missing guys like Fraser Harkness and Gavin Craig, it does make things a bit more difficult,” he added.

“However, I’ve been really impressed by the commitment and enthusiasm shown by all the players in the current squad.

“We’re now playing with more structure and self-belief, and the boys have all taken on board the game plan we’re trying to implement. The work ethic of the players has also been first class, and it’s satisfying to see youngsters like Callum McEwan and Lewis MacLennan winning places in the side and making significant contributions.

At Poynder Park on Saturday, Selkirk battled hard in their pool to secure a semi-final place with wins over Berwick (12-0) and hosts Kelso (19-12). In their semi against Hawick, a Mikey Davies try gave Selkirk an early lead, but the Greens hit back to take the tie 19-7.

Selkirk’s first tie at Earlston on Sunday was against Berwick, and once again Ross Nixon’s men hit the ground running with a 43-0 victory thanks to tries by MacLennan, Ewan MacDougall (2), Davies (3) and Craig MacDougall.

A physical Edinburgh Accies team was always going to be a hard ask in the next round, but Selkirk stuck to the task well. Accies crossed the line twice just before the break to go 14-0 up, but a Ewan MacDougall try early in the second half gave the Souters hope. But they couldn’t manage to cross Accies’ line again, leaving the city side 14-7 winners.

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