4 months ago
By Rory McKay
Saturday….What a Day!
The North Inch baked in glorious sunshine on Saturday at the annual jamboree that is the TAN International Perth Beer Festival and the Scot JCB Perthshire Rugby 7s Tournament. Players, coaches, supporters, beer lovers and the lovely folk of Perth turned out in huge numbers to enjoy one of the highlights of the Perth Social Calendar.
They were treated to a wonderful afternoon of rugby all washed down with some of Scotland’s finest cask beers from Inveralmond and Innes & Gunn breweries.
There were actually 3 rugby events on display on the day as, alongside the usual Men’s Tournament, Perthshire RFC held their first Women’s Sevens Tournament and there was also an exhibition match between Perthshire Vets (over 35s) against The Clan. The Clan is Scotland’s Unified Mixed Ability Rugby Team who represent the charity Trust Rugby International. Their aim is to promote and encourage an appreciation of equality, diversity and social integration by supporting personal development through rugby. Check them out at www.trustrugby.org.
Perthshire were delighted to welcome Pariseko Euskual Etxea Rugby who are a rugby team of Basque origin living in Paris. Every year they tour a different country in Europe and we were honoured to host them on their Scottish leg of their rugby journey. They certainly brought a great deal of French flair to the afternoon. It could be said that there greatest contribution to the event was the rendition of Flower of Scotland during the Big Bash evening event at the Beer Festival.
We were also delighted to welcome a men’s and women’s team from BT Premiership champions Ayr RFC, BT National Two Champions Cartha Queen’s Park RFC to compete against local teams such as Aberfeldy, Strathmore, Morgan, Abertay University and Invitational Teams such as The Crown and LFEA RFC.
The tournament began in fine style for Perthshire as they went unbeaten in the pools against The Crown, Abertay and Waysiders Drumpellier. The same success was achieved by Ayr RFC, Cartha Queen’s Park and LFEA RFC but it was the second placed teams, Aberfeldy and PEER Patxaran that were to have a greater effect on the tournament.
After the pools the tournament split in two with all 1st and 2nd place teams going into the Cup whilst all 3rd and 4th placed teams entered the Plate. In the Plate, Lismore and Strathmore raised their game hugely which took them both to the Plate Final with semi-final victories over The Crown and PEER Irouleguy respectively. The final was a close fought affair with both teams playing some entertaining 7s worthy of the Cup tournament and, at the final whistle, Lismore emerged as winners as their cheers of joy were heard inside the beer tent.
In the quarter finals of the Cup, Cartha got off to a flying start by downing Waysiders Drumpellier 57-0 and continued to look like the team to beat in the tournament. Perthshire and PEER Patxaran had an epic battle where the lead changed hand 6 times over the 14 minute game. Unfortunately, ‘Shire ran out of steam in the closing minutes and the Frenchmen took the game 29-21. Arguably, the game of the tournament was between Ayr RFC and Aberfeldy, teams at either end of the league spectrum in Scottish Rugby and both packed full of young talent finding their way in adult rugby. It was another see-saw game with both teams determined to play a fast, expansive game. Aberfeldy, in particular, were blessed with a couple of fliers and it was this that ultimately decided the game, winning 25-12. In the last quarter-final LFEA cruised past DUMS easily.
Meanwhile, in the Women’s Tournament Ayr, Broughton, Peterhead (playing in their first ever match) and a Perthshire Select all played each other in a round robin event followed by finals (1st vs 2nd & 3rd vs 4th). This was the first-time Women’s 7s has been part of the Perthshire 7s and it was great to see some of the female players we have brought through over the last couple of years back playing in black and white alongside the more established teams Ayr and Broughton. Perthshire are in the process (alongside Scottish Rugby’s BeTheBestYou Campaign) to grow women’s rugby and hope to participate in a development league next year. If you are interested in trying women’s rugby, we will be training every Monday evening from 15th May, 7-8:15pm. For more information contact Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org
Onto the Men’s Cup semi-finals which saw Cartha Queen’s Park defeat LFEA 26-12 and PEER Patxaran beat Aberfeldy 24-12. Both were keenly contested with some excellent, free-flowing 7s on display.
The final therefore was Cartha Queen’s Park vs PEER Patxaran. This was the teams 6th game of the day and the heat and hard ground were starting to take its toll so Cartha were forced into borrowing a couple of Perthshire players. Despite the tiredness both teams came flying out of the blocks playing some end to end rugby. As the game wore on the tiredness really took hold of all players and unforced errors began to creep in to the game. Despite Cartha winning 33-5 in the first game of the day against the same opposition his was a much tighter game and it became a case of who would blink first! As they were the best team overall on the day it was right that Cartha came through in the end to record a 12-5 victory with a runaway try and a brave defensive effort with PEER pressuring their tryline in the closing minutes.
A big thanks to all the teams that participated across the three events on the day. They made the event what it was with some thrilling rugby on show but more importantly, by playing the game in a fantastic spirit.
A huge thanks to the referees who officiated 48 games between them on the day. The put in a huge shift on the day to ensure the games and therefore the tournament ran smoothly.
A further thank you to the pitch managers Fin Hay, James Forrester, Christy Benning and Stevie Gray who ensured teams were where they were supposed to be at the right time and to the ball boys/girls from Perthshire Girls, U13, U14, U15 and U16 teams.
Finally, a massive thanks to Scot JCB for their continued sponsorship of the Perthshire Sevens.
Saturday….What a Day!!! Roll on next year when the Scot JCB Sevens and TAN International Perth Beer Festival in on Saturday 12th May.
Updated 17:58 - 10 May 2017 by Rory McKay