St Andrews 7s
Since its inception in 1970, the St Andrews Seven-a-side Rugby Tournament has grown to become one of the top 7s tournaments in the Scottish rugby calendar and the largest student run 7s in the UK. The inaugural tournament, which saw Dunfermline beat Madras FP 11-8 in a closely fought final after extra time, also featured the first recorded Women’s Seven-a-side Tournament, although this was only one match, entitled the Grand Challenge Match, which was a fitting prelude to the conclusion of the Men’s Tournament.
Unlike other 7s tournaments of the time, the St Andrews competition pitched teams against one another in leagues rather than adopting a straight knockout format, which ensured each team that entered got more than one game and no team’s journey was entirely wasted. This format, once unique to the St Andrews Tournament, is now widely used around the rugby 7s circuit and has evolved to allow the St Andrews 7s to accommodate 30-40 teams annually. Since its inception, the Women’s tournament has grown considerably and now fields over 8 teams on an annual basis.
Each year, teams from across the UK travel to St Andrews at the end of April to compete for the coveted Drummond Cup or Stanley Plate, the former kindly presented to the club by E. P. Drummond Esq. following the inaugural tournament in 1970. In the early days of the competition local club sides from the North & Midlands Districts were joined by teams from the Borders, with the University supplying two or three sides themselves.
In recent years, teams from Glasgow Hawks RFC, Dundee HS FP RFC, Stewarts Melville FP RFC and universities including Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, Manchester, Newcastle and of course St Andrews have taken part. The tournament currently fields between 10-15 St Andrews teams annually, made up of current rugby club members or former St Andrews students. It is common for a Freshers VII to enter each year and many year groups have returned annually, even after graduation, competing in up to 10-15 tournaments. Notable recent St Andrews Alumni teams include the Untouchables (winners 1997), Funky Monks (winners 1998), Des Lynams VII (winners in 1999 and 2005), Rat Pack (retired after 10 tournaments), A-Team, Slippery When Wet, Shark Kings (winners 2011).