By David Wilkinson
It has been some time since a rugby 7s tournament was hosted at Macclesfield Rugby Club, but under the guidance and expertise of Lead Coach and General Manager, Andy Appleyard, the excitement returns this Friday and Saturday. The lung-bursting, high action excitement of 7s rugby is long overdue at Macclesfield Rugby, Andy had this to say: “Priory Park is the perfect venue for a big 7s tournament, we have plenty of pitches and car parking, and our 3 bars and outdoor catering facilities will be perfect for when we get back to normal to put on a really big event. Our aim is to redevelop the grounds to provide even more playing surfaces, so that Macc7s establishes itself as the major summer tournament in the North West rugby calendar. This weekend should be a fantastic start, we have 32 teams taking part across the varies competitions, and some very fast lads on show”.
The weekend kicks-off at 7.00 pm on Friday evening with a Walking Rugby 7s contest. For the uninitiated, walking rugby sounds to be a soft option to the real thing, but there is a fine line between walking and running – determined by the referee’s whistle. The game is played under touch-rugby rules, and there will be plenty of huff and puff, and lots of vintage talent on show! The Friday night curtain-raiser will feature teams from Manchester and Wilmslow, as well as several from Macclesfield. One of the Macclesfield 7s’ teams, ‘The MRUFC Rugby Legends Walking Wanderers’, is full of stars from the 1990s including 3 ex 1st team captains: Rob Davies, Dave Worthington and Matt Harding; as well as Rick Usher, Justin Thomas, David Cummings, Chris Miller, Mike Ransom, Kevin Wright and Richard Glover.
The Men’s Competition kicks-off at 10.00 am on Saturday with 16 teams making up the main event. As well as 3 teams from Macclesfield, there are teams from Kings School Old Boys, local clubs, plus some esoteric sounding team names: Rascle 7s, MP7, Philippines Volcanoes, Reuben’s Rebels, Sons of Lazarus, North Wales Exiles, and 99 Sevens.
The format will be four pools of four, with the top two teams from each pool going through to the quarter final, followed by the semi-final, and then the climax of the day the Grand Final. All games will be 2 halves of 7 minutes, except for the final, where the last two teams will battle it out for the trophy for a further 20 minutes – a guaranteed spectacle, as very tired bodies turn-on-the-gas – one more time.
In tandem with the Men’s competition, the Ladies and the Vets will play out their competitions throughout the day starting at 11.00 am. The outdoor Sin Bin Bar will be open all day, as will the outdoor catering facility serving a variety of food and refreshments. The tournament has been made possible by the generous sponsorship of: Hun (canned wines), Director’s Choice and Money Guru. Non-playing entrance is £10 including car parking, payment is available at the gate or online at www.macclesfieldrufc.co.uk/7s.