15 February 2021
From The Vaults
For many years the least developed side of Twickenham Stadium was the South. At the end of the First World War, the exposed concrete terrace was extended and a clock-tower constructed at the back. The clock-tower didn't last long but the Terrace remained for over sixty years and from 1926 onwards was the site of English rugby's biggest annual end-of-season party. The Middlesex Sevens began life as a southern counterpart to the popular Melrose Sevens that had taken place in the Scottish Borders since the 7-man game had been invented there by a butcher, called Ned Haig, in 1883. Appropriately a London-based Scot called Dr Russell-Cargill instigated the tournament which quickly became something of an end-of-season bash, featuring between twelve and sixteen sides.
Harlequins, 1929[/caption] Harlequins dominated the early years, winning the first four tournaments. Ever-present in the competition they eventually bettered the winning streak sixty years later by winning five consecutive tournaments between 1986 and 1990.
The list of winners is mostly comprised of London sides, with a few notable exceptions. The Barbarians won in 1934, 1997 and 1998, Western Samoa in 1992 and there were also two successful incursions by Rugby League sides: Wigan Warriors winning in 1996, and Bradford Bulls in 2002. The tournament peaked in popularity in the 1980s, attracting upwards of 60,000 spectators, but an increase in competitive rugby led to several format alterations during the professional age. The competition was held at Twickenham for the final time in 2011. Twickenham may have seen the last of this classic tournament but a keg of ale opened and shared around the South Terrace at the Middlesex Sevens represent the very best of times at Twickenham for rugby fans of a certain age.
About the Author - This article is an extract from the book 'Twickenham: Home of England Rugby' available from Amazon. Phil McGowan has been a member of the World Rugby Museum team since 2007.
List of Middlesex 7s Winners 1926 Harlequins 1927 Harlequins 1928 Harlequins 1929 Harlequins 1930 London Welsh 1931 London Welsh 1932 Blackheath 1933 Harlequins 1934 Barbarians 1935 Harlequins 1936 Sale 1937 London Scottish F.C. 1938 Metropolitan Police 1939 Cardiff 1940 St Mary's Hospital 1941 Cambridge University R.U.F.C. 1942 St Mary's Hospital 1943 St Mary's Hospital 1944 St Mary's Hospital 1945 Nottingham 1946 St Mary's Hospital 1947 Rosslyn Park 1948 London Wasps 1949 Heriot's FP 1950 Rosslyn Park 1951 Richmond 1952 London Wasps 1953 Richmond 1954 Rosslyn Park 1955 Richmond 1956 London Welsh 1957 St Luke's College 1958 Blackheath 1959 Loughborough Colleges 1960 London Scottish 1961 London Scottish 1962 London Scottish 1963 London Scottish 1964 Loughborough Colleges 1965 London Scottish 1966 Loughborough Colleges 1967 Harlequins 1968 London Welsh 1969 St Luke's College, Exeter 1970 Loughborough Colleges 1971 London Welsh 1972 London Welsh 1973 London Welsh 1974 Richmond 1975 Richmond 1976 Loughborough Colleges 1977 Richmond 1978 Harlequins 1979 Richmond 1980 Richmond 1981 Rosslyn Park 1982 Stewart's Melville Former Pupils 1983 Richmond 1984 London Welsh 1985 London Wasps 1986 Harlequins 1987 Harlequins 1988 Harlequins 1989 Harlequins 1990 Harlequins 1991 London Scottish 1992 Western Samoa 1993 London Wasps 1994 Bath 1995 Leicester Tigers 1996 Wigan Warriors (RL) 1997 Barbarians 1998 Barbarians 1999 Penguins 2000 Penguins 2001 British Army 2002 Bradford Bulls (RL) 2003 Northampton Saints 2004 British Army 2005 Gloucester 2006 London Wasps 2007 Newcastle Falcons 2008 Harlequins 2009 London Irish 2010 ULR Samurai 2011 Samurai International
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