Hamilton Rugby club took advantage of the fine weekend weather to host a big weekend of rugby, showcasing the full range of rugby on offer. On Friday night as a warm up for the weekend, Hamilton ladies shows just how much they have developed over the season by taking on our coaches in a touch rugby festival. The ladies, all 23 of them showed enthusiasm and no little skill in challenging their more experienced male counterparts, and although a draw could not be engineered, great fun was had by all who participated and spectated. Ladies captain, Leeann Watson expressed her pride in the ladies. “We can’t wait to start full contact competition and we will do so at Biggar in a couple of weeks in their 7s tournament”.
Hamilton’s own 7s tournament was held on Saturday and featured 10 sides including National League 1 Champions Marr, eventual winners of the competition. Hamilton fielded two sides and a President’s select side, The Mavericks.
The round Robin league format provided some great rugby across two pools. From the outset it was clear that Marr were the team to beat as they ran up some high scoring wins against Cartha, Heriot Watt Uni, Dalziel, and even Bentlaigh Bulls. Hamilton meanwhile had victories over Whitecraigs, Newton Stewart and GHA, and were pushed all the way by the Mavericks.
The Plate final between GHA and Dalziel was a keenly fought affair but GHA proved too strong for the Lanarkshire outfit running out 45 – 19 winners. In the final of the competition the Host team pushed Marr all the way, showing great energy and enthusiasm. However injury to a couple of key players, told in the end and Marr’s superior fitness, and speed on the wings took them away from Hamilton in the second half, to win by 39 – 12.
The trophy was sponsored by and presented by John Austin of Check-it Scaffold Services. As and ex player himself, he revelled in the skill and spirit of the whole afternoon. He was particularly impressed by the skills on display in the under 18 tournament which preceded the main event. Hamilton had again entered 2 sides, and it was the Bentlaigh Bulls which reached and won the final in a close fought encounter with GHA.
The rugby did not end there though and on Sunday 7th May, Hamilton hosted sides from across the West of Scotland in their annual youth festival. Teams from as young as P1 – 3 up to under 16 took part in a well orchestrated morning and afternoon of rugby. The winners enjoyed lifting their trophies, but the real winner was rugby as the young people displayed their real rugby values of enthusiasm, skill and fair play. The highlight of the Hamilton Youth Rugby Festival as always, was the British Lions v The All Blacks, where the youngest players of the club dress in the traditional red and black of the two teams and play a game on the main pitch. Surprisingly, for about the 20th year in a row this tussle ended in a draw.
Club President Iain Leggate expressed his pride in the club which is developing so much talent in a safe and fun environment. He was at pains to thank all those who participated, but in particular the army of volunteers who worked all over the club in many different roles to ensure the success of the weekend.
Report by Jim Browning
Updated 10:38 - 10 May 2017 by Ross Whiteside