Stewartry Rugby Club at Greenlaw, Castle Douglas was host for the second leg of the 2023 Womens Rugby 7s Series on June 10th, Adrian from Rugby People, the organisation behind the tournament has put together a round-up of the series.
Adrian said “That’s a wrap for 2023, the 2nd Women’s Rugby 7s Series is over with, a very similar conclusion to 2022, Corstorphine Cougars are overall Champions, but that’s definitely only one of very few similarities between this year and last.
Let’s start this look at this years Competition with a few thank you’s, first we have to thank the Sponsors, when you have quality you don’t need quantity! RugbyStore have proved yet again that they are one of the sports biggest supporters of the Grassroots, consistently putting their money were their mouth is, they definitely Walk the Walk. Our new sponsors this year were SRUC, Scotland’s Rural College, the links between the Rural Community and Rugby are very strong and talking to players we’ve had a fair number of former SRUC students playing this year and some current ones, it was great to have them on board and have their staff at two of the legs.
Sponsors are some of the unsung heroes of Grassroots sport, so take a bow guys, you more than deserve it.
Next up we have to thank our Hosts, all facilities offered free of charge and that’s massive for a fledgling competition like ours, so let’s hear it for Cartha QP, Stewartry RFC and the Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry, top, top people.
Right then let’s take a look at how we did this year, first up on the 3rd of June we started at Cartha, hosting the first leg like they did last year. We initially had 12 teams lined up to compete, that unfortunately fell to 7 on the day, now though that was disappointing, it still made it one of the biggest lineups for a Women’s 7s Comp in Scotland for quite some time, last year I think we ended up with 4 teams, so take the positives, 7 is a good number. One of the great things that happened that day was the number of players who turned up from Clubs who had withdrawn, that really restored my faith in the sport and the people who take part, it was the start of the realisation that if you give players a platform they’ll use it, “Build it and they will come” that’s the quote I think.
The weather was great and we had some great Rugby played. We ended up with the first of Cougars wins on the day, they hadn’t won the corresponding leg last year and came to win, first target achieved. Sounds easy, but I think Hills might argue they made it hard for them, it was no walkover.
Moving on to the 2nd leg, 10th June at Stewartry, the folk at Stewartry really worked hard on this leg, Sevens was still the focus, but they added on a number of things that made the day an event.
We still had 7 teams competing, we changed the format and I think it had a positive impact on the tournament, it was certainly competitive , the D&G Derby between Stewartry and Wigtownshire was epic, on that there we had a team just promoted to the Premiership v’s a team from the regional leagues, walkover you’d think, no way, this is 7s and County bragging rights were up for grabs, Stewartry took the win, but the Shire made them work, it was a cracker.
In the end Cougars took the leg Win, but only by points difference over Stewartry, a real down to the wire competition.
Lastly it was on to Redford Barracks for the 3rd and Final leg. We had 9 teams, which was fantastic, especially when nearby there was a pay to play event happening, which seems to have the support of the Scottish Rugby Performance dept. I’ll need to try and find out why that is, I’m sure there was a good reason? We did have Caitlin from Scottish Rugby’s Media dept along, that was great to see, we’re definitely starting to see more interest from media outlets, local media in D&G particularly was very supportive,I made an appearance on the D&G Rugby Podcast, if you want to hear an old guy ramble, it’s the episode for you!! We even made the Daily Record website, as ever GH Media gave their support to us, Gary deserves the plaudits he gets and probably a lot more.
Coming back to my earlier comment about Pay to Play events, I know that was perhaps me being a bit flippant, but I do wonder why clubs would want to pay £200 plus, to play in an event, when they could compete in a meaningful competition for free, the cash being spent on Pay to Play could, at it’s current level, finance the Women’s Series for 2 or 3 years.
I mentioned it earlier but it’s an issue that needs to be addressed the curse of Late Team withdrawals, this seems to be a thing in 7s, it’s one of the few negatives in the grassroots game, it’s so unfair on Tournament organisers, Sponsors and the other teams and players, not sure what can be done, would love to hear your thoughts?
We couldn’t have run a meaningful competition without players being willing to play for other teams and as mentioned earlier those players who turned up just looking for a game.
Anyway, coming back to the 3rd Leg, this was a great way to end the Series our Hosts Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry, I was slightly concerned to see massive Machine guns at the side of the pitch, they assured me it wasn’t some sort of new TMO set up!!
This time around Cougars were just to strong and sealed their overall win and made it three out of three wins for the Series, coming in second we had Hillhead Jordanhill and third it was Stewartry, well done to the trophy winners. But I also have to thank all of the players and Coaches who took part, this is your Competition and you took the opportunity given to you an showed yourselves and your sport to be absolutely outstanding.
Well Done All,