Sun shines on Leith for Rex Club Leith 7s
Best day of the year as hundreds enjoy thrilling 7s Action
It was baking hot at Academy Park on Saturday as Leith held their annual 7 a side tournament, 12 teams from near and far travelled to Leith in attempt to lift the Carl Waugh trophy at the Rex Club Leith 7s supported by Crabbies.
Before the 7s action got underway the Leith Over 35s put on a show against the Leith Presidents XV to draw the curtain on what would be a feast of rugby. There were scores to settle all over the shop, Neil Holman & Willie Cook v Robert Stitt and Bruce Connelly, Ben Place v Toby Kirkwood and the master v the apprentice themselves - Keith Aitchison v David Meadows. At the end of an entertaining 60(ish) minutes, the seniors reigned supreme and it was off to the bar!
No sooner had the overs and unders supped on their first Crabbies of the day than the Leith 7s squad kicked off the tournament. With thanks to the 2 pitches being operated for the tournament, a first at Academy park, the action was coming thick and fast for the supporters who were lapping up the spring sunshine.
At the conclusion of the pools, Boroughmuir Bears topped pool A after victories over Kilmarnock and Fife Southern, Kilmarnock taking 2nd place after victory against the Fifers. Host Leith wrapped up pool B after a 27-12 victor over Napier and 54-5 win against Panmure (credit to Panmure who sacrificed warm up after traffic issues!), Napier won out against Panmure and took 2nd Place. Forrester overcame Queensferry and narrowly beat Paisley 21-14 to progress in the top competition, whilst Paisley secured 2nd after beating Queensferry. Whilst finally in Pool D, Champions from 2 years ago Moray House saw off Penicuik and Kinross to progress whilst Penicuik won 54-0 to get the 2nd spot.
Into the knock out phase of the tournament and the teams were now walking the tight rope of elimination. First up in the shield Panmure dispatched Fife Southern 22-0 to progress to the final where they would face Queensferry as they triumphed over Kinross 43-7. In the Bowl semi final, Kilmarnock just saw off student team Napier Rugby 24-12 and in the other fixture Penicuik overcame Paisley 29-12 to progress. In the main cup competition the home side fell to an impressive Boroughmuir Bears 31-14 and Forrester scored a last gasp effort to see off Moray House 28-24.
Into the finals, and first up Queensferry yet again denied Panmure their first Leith 7s silverware after 3 years of trying, beating the Broughty Ferry side 31-7 (we wish a speedy recovery to the Panmure player who suffered a bad injury leading the game to be switched to the 2nd pitch). Next up in the Bowl final, and we saw 1st time tournament attendees Kilmarnock and tournament top try scorer Connor Turnbull, beat Penicuik 24-17 to lift the Shield. Leith eased to a victory against Moray House in the Plate final - as the DJ played 'Sunshine on Leith' Leith notched up a 33-7 victory. And to the final, and what a final it was....with the score see sawing between the Boroughmuir Bears and Forrester, and despite player of the tournament, Boroughmuir Bear's Anthony Armstrong's best efforts Forrester hung on for a 22-17 victory to win the Carl Waugh Trophy and the Rex Club Leith 7s title.
With that the rugby was finished, a fantastic day of 7s and day out at Academy park with players, officials and spectators enjoying themselves at what must be one of the best regional 7s tournaments in the country!
The tournament could not have be possible without a number of people (Apologies if I forget anyone!)
Rex Club, Crabbies, Stories Bakey, Health By Science, Excel Mobile Valeting and Mathew Priest for their generous sponsorship of the tournament.
RGNM Photogrpahy for capturing the day for us
Tony Reilly and his band of referees, without whom the day wouldn't be possible.
Leith Hawks Youth Development for running the BBQ that had people queuing up.
Danielle Haggon for organising and running a cracking hamper raffle.
Margaret Ritchie, Maureen Paterson and Anita Cook for putting together the Players Teas
Conor Kerr for running the scoring tent and keeping everything in order!
Scott, Joanna and Elena for keeping the social media on point
Carol Newlands, keeping all the players patched up and on the field.
Max Bowman and Friends for tirelessly running as ball boys throughout the day
All the bar staff and volunteers for helping to set the day up!
Thanks to all and hope to see you all next year!