If the English invented cricket to understand the meaning of eternity, it is easy to suspect that the Scots came up with sevens for much the same reason. 

Because, for all its charms, Ned Haig’s addition to the sporting firmament can mean a very long day in the saddle for those who want to watch all the action.

There's a certain irony in describing sevens as the abbreviated game when a tournament that kicks off just after 11am does not reach its conclusion until almost nine hours later.

That was the timescale at Melrose, with the competition drawing to its end close to 8pm, Shogun Rugby beating South Barbarians to claim the 1883 Centenary Cup as the light was fading and the sun dipped away to the west.

Not that the sun had been around for the entire affair, taking its leave when things began under thick morning cloud and when an almighty deluge of rain fell midway through the afternoon.

If the weather was unpredictable, the outcome was anything but.

Guest sides have become so dominant at Melrose over the past few years that the early rounds of the tournament now unfold as a inevitable slaughter of the innocents, with Scotland’s amateur club sides suffering hefty defeats at the hands of the professional and semi-professional interlopers.

That was not such a bad thing when far-travelled sides like Randwick, Bay of Plenty and Stellenbosch University came, saw and conquered. At least they had real identity (and real trophy cabinets to hold the silverware they collected).

So many of the guest teams today are ephemeral outfits, dreamt up on the hoof and thrown together on a seemingly ad-hoc basis. You can’t question their levels of skill, fitness and ability, but there is something rather soulless about them.

To their credit, have taken criticism of their tournament’s recent trajectory on board and have hinted at big changes ahead.

READ MORE: Melrose Sevens organiser reveals changes could be afoot in 2025

But then, there must also be some reluctance to tamper with a winning formula, one that swells the club’s coffers by a substantial six-figure sum each year. 

And while traditionalists grumble that things aren’t what they used to be at The Greenyards, the ever-expanding tented village and hospitality areas around the ground provide evidence that not everyone is so troubled by what the tournament has become.  

This Borders rite of spring is still impeccably well organised and still attracts a bumper crowd. As old Ned dreamt up sevens as a money-spinning wheeze 141 years ago, you suspect he might well be satisfied by what it is now. 

He would certainly have been impressed by the standard of play in the final. As the rounds unfolded it was clear that Shoguns and South Barbarians were comfortably the best two teams in the tournament.

They were also, by no coincidence whatsoever, the most professional, with the Shoguns built around a core of GB Sevens players and the Barbarians boasting a host of Scots with top-level experience. 

The final seemed to have swung the Barbarians’ way when the Shoguns’ Jordan Edmunds was yellow-carded with just a few seconds on the clock. However, the Shoguns shook off the inconvenience, claimed a try through Matt Davidson, and led 14-0 at half-time after Edmunds had added their second. 

The Barbarians, coached by Melrose hero and former Scotland sevens star Scott Wight, were far more impressive after the break and reduced the gap with a try by Scott Bickerstaff.

However, the Shoguns’ class was always likely to prove decisive and they cemented their 21-5 win with a breakaway try by Will Glover. 

Wight took the defeat phlegmatically. He said: “It’s disappointing, but for a group of boys we just pulled together this morning you have to take your hat off to them.

“There wasn’t much in it. The Shoguns team was fairly loaded but I thought the attitude of our boys was first class.

"Congrats to Shoguns. They deserved it in the end. They played better in the final but we weren’t far away.”

The Shoguns made it a double celebration when their women’s team lifted the Mike Bleasdale Cup, beating Hammerhead7s in the final.