Make Finals Day free, says Heriot’s coach Smith

BT Finals Day players, from left, Lisa Martin (Murrayfield Wanderers), Jade Konkel (Hillhead 
Jordanhill), Lewis Millar (Aberdeen Uni), Josh Currie (Millbrae), Bruce Colvine (Melrose), Katie Williams (Howe 
Harlequins), Gregor McNeish (Heriots), Greg Montgomery (Carrick), Kevin Brown (Highland), Emily Cotterill 
(Watsonians RFC) and Rachel Shankland (Stirling County)
BT Finals Day players, from left, Lisa Martin (Murrayfield Wanderers), Jade Konkel (Hillhead Jordanhill), Lewis Millar (Aberdeen Uni), Josh Currie (Millbrae), Bruce Colvine (Melrose), Katie Williams (Howe Harlequins), Gregor McNeish (Heriots), Greg Montgomery (Carrick), Kevin Brown (Highland), Emily Cotterill (Watsonians RFC) and Rachel Shankland (Stirling County)
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Heriot’s coach Phil Smith has advocated making entry free to the BT Finals day in a bid to boost the crowd.

The Goldenacre side face Melrose at the national stadium on Saturday as the showpiece match on a day of six finals in total.

The Finals Day is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its inaugural hosting when a crowd of more than 22,000 watched Hawick become the first national knockout champions when they defeated Watsonians.

Last year attracted a day attendance of less than half that and, at yesterday’s media event to publicise the finals at BT Murrayfield, Smith suggested free tickets could be the answer.

“The benefit that the clubs get from the Cup final is they get to keep their gate receipts – so any tickets we sell we keep, because there’s no prize money.

“Make it free and put up prize money would be an option. Basically, you can walk into any place and hand out a bunch of tickets and say ‘It’s free entry on Saturday, come along’ – and maybe put prize money as the reward for the clubs rather than us running around trying to sell tickets to all and sundry.

“And maybe people would just walk up because they know it’s a free entry. I don’t know, that’s just a thought. It would be a different option or a different approach.”

Smith added: “I know Heriot’s, and I’m sure Melrose are the same, have tried their hardest.

“There are a couple of things that are nothing to do with the SRU. The school holidays are at the moment, so for us to access the school and try to get all the kids aware of it is difficult. So the timing of it – it’s nobody’s fault, that’s just the way it is.

“We’ve been at our youth sections, we’ve been out to the local schools as best we can. Some Edinburgh schools are back today and some aren’t back until next Monday. We’re trying to just get out there and advertise it.”

Heriot’s, whose side face Ayr in the BT Premiership final on April 23, are looking to win the Cup for a fourth time and Melrose their third. It will be the third time the two have faced each other in a final, with one win apiece.

BT FINALS DAY

BT Men’s Bowl Final (kick-off 11am): Millbrae v Aberdeen University (International Pitch)

BT Women’s Bowl Final (kick-off noon): Howe of Fife v Glasgow University (Back Pitches)

BT Men’s Shield Final (kick-off 1.15pm): Highland v Carrick (International Pitch)

BT Women’s Plate Final (kick-off 1.30pm): Stirling County v Watsonians (Back Pitches)

Sarah Beaney Cup Final (kick-off 3.30pm): Murrayfield Wanderers v Hillhead/Jordanhill (International Pitch)

BT Cup Final (kick-off 5.45pm): Melrose v Heriot’s (International Pitch)

• Tickets £10 adult, £5 concession