Davie Sanderson

Born: 13 January 1862, Melrose
Played club rugby: Melrose RFC
Played provincial rugby: East of Scotland District
Died: 17 July 1954, Melrose

Davie Sanderson

Davie Sanderson played for Melrose rugby club. He played with Ned Haig on the team. He was also Haig’s boss: Sanderson was a master butcher in Melrose; and his father was a master butcher. Haig was Sanderson’s apprentice.

It was Haig and Sanderson that devised the Sevens tournament in Melrose in 1883.

Sanderson played for the East of Scotland district side against the West of Scotland district side in 1884. This was essentially a trial match for the Scotland side; the East v West fixture introduced to try and include more players from outwith the Glasgow District and Edinburgh District sides for international selection.

From the Border Advertiser of 30 January 1884:

Sanderson was a gifted player and unlucky not be capped by the Scotland international side; missing out on selection by injury.

Sanderson was a popular figure around Melrose. He was able to advertise in the Southern Reporter of 24 July 1884:

The Southern Reporter also gave notice of Sanderson’s return from South Africa on 27 December 1900:

It will be learned with regret that Lance – Sergeant David Sanderson, Melrose, who recently returned home with the Volunteer Service Company from South Africa, is suffering from a severe attack of enteric fever.


He married Mary Jane Forsyth in 1907.

The Jedburgh Gazette of 30 July 1954 reports Sanderson’s death:

The Melrose Sevens website also states:

It was the ladies of Melrose who raised the funds for the small but very stylish Ladies Cup which was to be presented to the best seven men. Dave Sanderson, Ned Haig’s employer, accepted the trophy and it was never competed for again. It now sits proudly in a Sevens display cabinet in the Ned Haig lounge at Melrose RFC.


The Official History of the Melrose Sevens by Walter Allan can provide this footnote:

In 1990 the Melrose club were presented with an 1885 medal which belonged to the legendary Davie Sanderson, scorer of the winning try in 1883, and employer of Ned Haig. Astonishingly the donor was Sanderson’s daughter Mrs Cathy Wheelans. In memory of her father, she donated the Sanderson Salver for annual presentation to the runners-up at Melrose Sevens.

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