A weekend of rugby was celebrated this weekend in the Alnwick Rum Northumberland 7s, highlighting a variation in the sport.
Created in the Scottish borders and Northumberland, the sport disappeared around 100 years ago. But with its inclusion in the next Olympics in 2016, its popularity has started to pick up.
This weekends Cup winners were hailed as Tynedale RFC who took the title playing against Consett Northumberland Barbarians, the score being a close 19-17.
However, the Novocastrian players really shone out with player of the tournament named as Stu Findlay and the try of the tournament being scored by Joe Carr resulting in the team beating Seghill RFC 31-14.
Stu, who recently returned to UK after playing in Australia in the Victoria Premiership for two years, has just signed for Percy Park. The 25 year old has been off the circuit for a year following a dislocated shoulder, but is delighted to be back in the UK playing for both Percy Park RFC and playing in the 7’s for the Novocastrians.
Stu said: “7’s is a totally different game in both speed and space and is very suited to my game.
“I am very excited to be joining Percy Park RFC, but will also remain part of the Novocastrians 7’s team.”
Interest in the 7’s tournament is building fast and clubs and eleven teams from across the North East are now involved. RFC’s to have joined include Alnwick, Blyth, Border Park, Morpeth, Novocastrians, Ponteland, Seghill, Tynedale, Whitley Bay, Northumberland Barbarians (COnsett) and Gateshead College.
From the current tournament, players will be chosen to make up The Northumberland 7’s team, a county select side.
This year is its first year and so far as a county Northumberland has taken on the Bury 7’s and the Longhirst 7’s in open competitions. The team has also taken on Manchester 7’s in the elite competition.
The Alnwick Rum Northumberland Cup is sponsored by Alnwick Brewery and was established by Oliver Randall two years ago with the aim of creating an entry level 7’s for the area, and to bring business and the sport together. A professional rugby player, Oliver has played for Alcobendas in Madrid and played 7’s for the Spanish Barbarians whilst there.
He said: “Two years ago we had the interest of five clubs in playing the Alnwick Rum.
“It was always my plan to use this as a selection process to build Northumberland 7’s and getting the go ahead from the Northumberland Rugby Union for a 2013 squad was brilliant.
“We now need more clubs and more players to start to make our mark outside the county in the run up to the 2016 Olympics.”
The tournament this weekend held a one minute silence out of respect for Richard Holmes, a 25 year old rugby player who lost his battle with cancer last week.
Anyone wanting more information about 7’s, the tournament or sponsorship opportunities should contact Oliver Randall on 07824 638 208.