Newton Stewart 'SERIOUSLY Strong' 7's 2018
Saturday 28th April 2018
The Newton Stewart RFC 'SERIOUSLY Strong' 7s tournament took place once again last weekend. Some poor weather this season has left many clubs with an extended season trying to catch up on postponed matches, and so many regulars were unable to attend the tournament. As a result the competition was small in team numbers, but the good crowd which gathered to watch was treated to a very high standard of rugby.
Teams travelled from Dumfries, Marr and Hamilton RFCs, all of whom compete in the National Leagues. Newton Stewart RFC entered two squads and so a round robin competition was scheduled for the five competing teams.
The Reds' 1st VII had a great run through the competition, winning all their games and utilising their combination of lightning fast backs with tenacious tacklers.
The 2nd VII, nicknamed the 'Rockets' for the day, had less success, failing to win any of their games. They did however score a few good tries in the competition, and the battle against the 1st VII was an entertaining event!
After the completion of the round robin stages Newton Stewart and Dumfries were lying at the top of the table and so progressed to a grand final.
By half-time is was one try apiece and all to play for. Dumfries scored first after the break, but their conversion kick was short to leave them only 5 points clear. Newton Stewart countered with a try of their own late in the game via Mark McCornick over in the left corner. To keep it interesting the Reds' conversion kick was also missed and it was all square at 12-12 when the final whistle blew.
The game then progressed to a 'sudden death' play-off where the first try scored wins. There were valiant efforts from both sides and the game could have gone either way. An intercepted pass from Dumfries gave them a chance to attack but when Russell Morton countered with an intercept of his own they were forced to quickly revert to defence. With Saints players closing down on Morton he tossed a deft pass 'out the back door' to Robert Service who put his foot down on the gas and raced under the posts to secure the tournament victory for the Reds to rapturous cheers.
The event was generously sponsored by Lactalis McLelland Ltd, producers of Seriously cheddar. The Bladnoch Quaich and £500 cash prize on offer were presented to Newton Stewart captain Mark McCornick by Lactalis representative Derek Kennedy.
Player of the Tournament was Dumfries star Jack Steele, who won a bottle of special edition Bladnoch whiskey kindly donated by Bladnoch distillery.
A bottle of Hills and Harbour gin was also donated by Crafty distillery from Newton Stewart, which was awarded for the 'Craftiest Move of the Tournament'. This prize was awarded to the aforementioned Russell Morton for his pass which created the tournament winning try.
Newton Stewart RFC have one league game remaining this season, at home to St Boswell's RFC on Saturday 19th May at Bladnoch Park. All are welcomed for the 3pm kick-off.