A Samurai Scottish squad bristling with pace and international experience took the honours in the Boroughmuir Sevens sponsored by Central Taxis and a leg of the Arnold Clark Legacy Series at a soggy Meggetland last night, beating Howe of Fife in the final.
The squad coached by Bruce Aitchison of Murrayfield Wanderers lived up to their billing as tournament favourites, although they were made to work hard in the latter stages of the tournament.
The task for Aitchison was how best to deploy the wealth of talent at his disposal, and he shuffled his men effectively to ensure they mastered the difficult conditions. However, he was at pains to point out that the victory was far from a formality, saying, “When you throw a bunch of talented guys like that together, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy. But I was delighted with how hard they worked and the way they gelled. Aitchison’s side saw off a gutsy Howe outfit 39-14 in the final, reaching the interval 15-0 ahead through tries from Glenn Bryce, Alex Cox and Greig Ryan before kicking on to clinch the win with further scores by Ross Samson, Ryan and Bryce and Peter Jericevich, while Chris Mason and Angus Guthrie bagged consolation tries for Howe.
The withdrawal of Currie and the absence of the other Capital sides from the top two divisions left Edinburgh University, Lasswade and the host club – represented by the first choice squad and a Bruce Hay Chiefs seven carrying local aspirations.
The students posted a promising draw with Stirling County in their opener but exited the competition after going down against a Howe of Fife squad that was starting to click into gear. Lasswade opened the proceedings against Kirkcaldy and acquitted themselves well. But the Fifers had too much pace for the Hawthornden men and posted a 22-12 win. However, Kirkcaldy met their match next time out in the form of Hamilton, who became the first side to book a semi-final slot when they swatted aside the challenge of Lasswade.
Boroughmuir offered a glimpse of their determination to perform well in their own tournament when they struck first through Rehha Guedroudj in their tie with Samurai, but the select side, with Currie’s sevens international Liam Draycott and Cox of Murrayfield Wanderers to the fore, hit back and claimed five touchdowns to set the ball rolling on their run to the title.
“That was a potential banana skin but we managed to come through it,” admitted Aitchison. However, ‘Muir made no mistake on their second outing – Rob Cairns bagging four of his side’s seven tries, as they saw off Dalziel, who had the dubious distinction of becoming the first team to be ‘nilled’. ‘Muir then ousted GHA in the Plate semi-final to book a meeting with Stirling County in the consolation final. A try by Ross Bradford, converted by Graeme Blackhall, separated the sides after a fiercely contested first half.
Guedroudj pounced for a second score shortly after the restart and Jackson Achilles raced over to seal the Ronnie Tait Quaich and end a disappointing season for the club on a positive note.
Samurai were untroubled as they put Dalziel to the sword, with former Heriot’s full back Bryce – now plying his trade in the professional ranks with Jersey in the RFU Championship – bagging three of his side’s eight tries as they swept into the semi final and a clash with Glasgow Hawks. That encounter presented a sterner test for Samurai, who opened the scoring with a try by Cox before being pegged back to parity. And for the first time they were subjected to a stern test by a pacy Hawks outfit. However, their defence survived that onslaught and a length of the field score by Jericevich, which he also converted gave them a 12-5 half time lead. And they completed the job in some style with three unanswered tries in the second half.
Meanwhile, Howe of Fife were comfortable winners over Edinburgh University before squeezing past Stirling County, winners of the opening leg of the legacy series last weekend, to set up a bruising clash with Hamilton.
The pair slugged it out in the worst conditions of the night before Howe emerged as 24-19 victors to progress to the final.
Pool A: Kirkcaldy 22 Lasswade 12, Hamilton 33 Kirkcaldy 12, Hamilton 36 Lasswade 0.
Pool B: Samurai Scottish 33 Boroughmuir 7, Boroughmuir 43 Dalziel 0, Samurai Scottish 46 Dalziel 5.
Pool C: Stirling County 14 Edinburgh University 14, Stirling County 7 Howe of Fife 19, Edinburgh University 0 Howe of Fife 31.
Pool D: Glasgow Hawks 26 GHA 7, Glasgow Hawks 52 Bruce Hay Chiefs 0, GHA 42 Bruce Hay Chiefs 5.
Cup Semi-finals: Howe of Fife 24 Hamilton 19, Samurai Scottish 31 Glasgow Hawks 5
Cup Final: Samurai 39 Howe of Fife 14
Plate Semi-final: Stirling County 26 Kirkcaldy 10. Boroughmuir 20 GHA 5
Plate Final: Boroughmuir 19 Stirling County 0.