By David Wilkinson

The Macclesfield 7s, was once again a sizzling festival of running rugby. The event is becoming well known within the Sevens circuit, and there are already plans to take its profile to the next level, with more big-name squads. Friday evening saw the Walking Rugby curtain-raiser, 4 teams competed in a mini-league, with Mike Keeling’s Rugga Buggas coming out on top.

Congratulations Rugga Buggas

7 rugby veterans, supported by the excellent Pip Gregory, were unbeaten against, Wath Upon Dearne, Manchester and Wilkey’s Walking Wanderers.

Dan Martin makes a break from deep, but has he got the gas to get there?

The main event kicked-off at 10.20 am, the sun was already high, which would require copious amounts of hydration for players and spectators alike. The festival consisted of three competitions: Men’s Elite, Women’s Social and Men’s Social; plus a special contest between a Knutsford 10s, and the Doddie & Farrell Lions. The Lions, who support the My Name’s Doddie Foundation, for MND, had travelled up from London to make a day and a night of it ‘up North’. On the unofficial law of ‘last try wins’, the Lions claimed the glory! Macclesfield were represented in all of the competitions, the Men’s Elite squad had Danny Martin, Tom Burden and Phil Laing from the 1st team with squad players from the 2nds. They out-scored Rascals 21 – 12, and scored in all the other games, but generally didn’t have enough gas, compared to their opponents. Macclesfield Rising Stars played in the Social League, which was a great experience for them. The team was made up of players from last year’s Colts, the age difference was very noticeable at times, but the boys stuck at it scoring some great tries.

The Ladies of Macclesfield in the Pink

The Macc Ladies had a great day of rugby, the highlight being a win over finalists Stoke Sirens 10 – 0.

Referees ponder the machinations of the scores

The tournament cup holders, North Wales Exiles, got the Macc 7s underway with a fine display against the 99ers. They were without their previous strong running Fijians, but this was made up for by a youthful squad that had pace to burn throughout; 6 tries laid down a marker for the rest. The Samurai were next up against the Rascals, and they, with a token Japanese player from Edinburgh Academicals, looked equally as strong winning convincingly scoring 5 tries.

King’s School Old Boys powering in for another try

On pitch 2 the Men’s Social competition was underway where King’s School Old Boys scored 8 tries against the Sutton Students; they would meet again in the Final but with a much more competitive game, 38 – 20 to the Old Boys. The Women’s League would see Skipton Ladies take on the Stoke Sirens in the Final.

Stop me if you can!

She made it what joy!

Their previous match-up was all-square, just a try each, but in the Final the Ladies from Yorkshire edged it scoring two tries to one.

Exiles go over between the posts

The Men’s elite final was a worthy affair; the two teams that had been consistent throughout, had made it through to play for the silverware. North Wales Exiles got over first, but it was obvious from the start that this would be highly competitive; any slip ups in defence would be costly. The Exiles got to two scores ahead, but missed a conversion between the posts, which could have been costly.

The Samurai pull the score back to a point in the final

The Samurai pulled one back and were but one point behind. Both teams would have further chances but the scoreboard stayed at 14 – 15, with the Exiles retaining the trophy for a third year running.

Chairman Bob Cooke presenting the trophy to the Captain of the Exiles

It had been an excellent day of 7s rugby, on rock-hard pitches, with soaring temperatures, enjoyed by a big crowd. More rehydration and live music saw off the evening, with all the teams promising to return again next June.

It’s a rugby rest now until pre season, and the new tackle law, but that’s a whole new story!


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