It was a festival of rugby at Emerson Valley on Saturday as more than 500 players competed in the Milton Keynes Rugby 7s tournament.
With 43 teams and over 500 players competing over Elite, Open, Ladies and Social Rugby 7s competitions, this was the biggest rugby festival ever in Milton Keynes in this the year when the rugby world cup comes to Milton Keynes.
The event was also an official qualifier for the RFU Pan London 7s event at Allianz Park in August awarded to the highest level club team.
With a combination of all day music, rugby and food on offer, the weather could not dampen the spirits of the players and supporters in four high quality tournaments.
In the Buckinghamshire Technology Social Tournament, local defending champions, The Convicts captained by Mike Fitz, bowed out in the semi finals, allowing the The Spoonies (from the Wooden Spoon Society in Bedfordshire) to take the title ahead of MK Pint record holders University of Bedfordshire Old Boys in a closely fought final.
With teams coming from London, Cornwall, Bletchley and Reading for the RPL Transport Ladies tournament, the select 7s team Swift 7s from the South West topped the standings ahead of Find Rugby Now Ladies 7s team to take the title and also a place in the RFU event in London.
In the highly competitive Zoti Sports Open tournament there were 20 teams competing for the title, including the team ‘Sant Cugat Almogavers’ who travelled all the way from Barcelona to compete in the tournament.
With a selection of club and select 7s teams, the open would also double up as the RFU Pan London 7s qualifier for the highest placed club team which included OIney, Milton Keynes and Mens Own teams all competing.
However Olney Rascals were the only local team to make it to the semi finals, and after a 29–7 win over the Dulwich Douche Bags, this set up a final with the North Walsham 7s Cup winners the Wise Monkeys.
However the Wise Monkeys proved too much for the Rascals running out 40–7 winners. However, the Rascals were happy with their runners up spot and a place in the RFU Pan London tournament.
In the Elite division, consisting of mainly of semi professional players from Wales, England and a number from the coveted GB Rugby 7s Series, competed for the top level Marstons Hemingway Elite Title.
With some great rugby being played by Krusada Knights from Leicestershire and Cambridgeshire in the early stages, they looked like the early favourites.
With the Knights topping the tables this set the scheme for a final showdown with development team of GB Series team Apache 7s. However, after losing to the Knights earlier in the day, the Apaches Braves prevailed in the final to take the historic Hemingway Rugby 7s Title and £750 first placed prize money.
The John Silk Trophy, awarded in memory of M7’s late president, went to Sant Cugat Almogavers, who displayed great sportsmanship, camaraderie and respect throughout the day to take the trophy awarded to the team who embodied the spirit of the sport most on the day.
The music and food festival also nominated Willen Hospice as their chosen charity, resulting in over £1,000 being raised for charity.
With this the most successful Rugby 7s event ever in Milton Keynes, MKRUFC look forward to attracting new players both young and old to the club in this the city’s Rugby World Cup year.