SCHOOL children from a Peebles primary sacrificed celebrations at their town’s annual festival and trucks full of all the sweets you could eat.

But missing the Beltane Float Procession was a gamble worth taking for a group of Priorsford pupils who returned home from the Scottish Rotary Primary Schools Championship with their own crown.

Emerging as the winners and beating off competition from all over Scotland didn’t come easy for quizmasters James Stevenson, Jenna Clelland, Daniel Newsam, Ethan Botwright and Fin Price.

Peeblesshire News reporter Hilary Scott visited the pupils before they finished up for the summer holidays to hear about the journey that turned them into Scottish champions.

Proudly clutching the glass trophy and certificate presented to them after the nail biting final in Stirling, the pupils talk about what led them to this victorious moment.

It was a bittersweet moment for Priorsford who had two teams in the district rotary competition held in Innerleithen.

The B Team pipped Priorsford A by only one point which saw them progress to the Borders area final in Selkirk.

P6 pupil James Stevenson was a member of the team who came second and said he was “gutted” at the defeat but also pleased for his fellow Priorsford team mates. But all was not over for James who would step up to play a vital part in the schools glorious final victory.

The team said the contest in at Selkirk High was tough and they were placed second after a tense tiebreaker question with ‘Langholm Brainboxes’.

This took them to Carluke for the Central Scotland heat were they scraped into the final by coming third.

Priorsford were on their way to Scottish success, but they soon learned that winning doesn’t come easy and they were faced with a tough decision.

The date of the final was Beltane Saturday and members of the quiz team were key members of the royal court.

Would Queen Jenna step off her carriage to no Courtier, namely Fin Price, to escort her to her throne? And as she fell to her knees for her crowning glory, would Daniel Newsam be there bearing the crown jewels?

I’m pleased to report that the two young men fulfilled their royal duties. After Jenna was crowned Daniel had done his job as the Crown Bearer, but no Queen should go to any royal occasion without her Courtier, and Fin had a tough decision to make – go to the Beltane celebratory lunch with his Queen, or ditch the carriage for a car and take off to Stirling for the final with his teammates.

But Fin did what any gentleman would do, and attended the Hydro Hotel luncheon with Queen Jenna, her Chief Maid and Second Courtier.

“It was really difficult,” Fin told the Peeblesshire. “Obviously I wanted to be at both but that wasn’t possible.”

Who should come to the rescue but Robin Hood of course, more commonly known as James Stevenson, who ditched his bow and arrow and joined Arabian girl (Jenna Clelland), Knight (Ethan Botwright) and Crown Bearer (Daniel Newsam) to take Fin’s place in the final.

After waving off fellow Priorsford pupils Queen Jenna and First Courtier Fin, the pupils quickly changed out of their costumes and were whisked out of Peebles to travel 60 miles to Stirling University.

The pupils thought it would’ve been amusing to turn up their Beltane costumes but opted for school uniform.

In the end the team didn’t need a costume to stand out, the brainy act did that for themselves.

“We were nervous but competitiveness is in our blood,” said James.

The team were put to the test with ten rounds of six questions on a varied mixture of subjects. After the tenth round the top two teams had the same score, so the tie-breaker round was invoked.

But this resulted in a further tie in the scores and at this point Priorsford were running on their nerves as it went to sudden death for the ultimate tie-breaker.

The question – How many members are there in Scotland’s 192 Rotary Clubs? As Priorsford came nearer to the correct answer of 5,176 than Portessie, they became Scottish Schools Champion.

Back in Peebles, Fin waited nervously for the news. “I was sitting at the Beltane lunch and my mum had her phone and was relaying all the scores to me. When I heard they had won I was so happy. It was a great finish to Beltane Saturday for me,” said Fin.

Proud headteacher Sandra Macgregor travelled home with her champions and presented Fin with his certificate following the Beating of the Retreat as he was a vital part of getting Priorsford to the final.

The team relayed some of the questions that they punched the air when they got right, and the ones they kicked themselves for getting wrong. Perhaps a future question in this annual general knowledge competition will be – Who were crowned the Scottish Rotary School Champions in 2019? And that’s a question they proudly know the answer to.