16 May 2017 / Club News

Old Penarthians Sevens Tournament

Old Penarthians Sevens Preview


This Saturday 20h May 2017 sees Old Penarthians host the 68th consecutive season of their Seven-a-Side Tournament.  This tournament is one of the most constant items in the local rugby calendar and it is hoped that large crowds will again turn up at Cwrt-y-vil Playing Fields, St Marks Road to watch this highly enjoyable and competitive event.  


The event this year will however be tinged with a hint of sadness as it will be the first time since 1964 that Roy Churchill, the ‘voice of the tournament’, will not be behind the microphone.  As many local sports supporters and Penarth people will know Roy sadly passed away in January and whilst he is missed in many ways, the Old Penarthians Seven-a-Side tournament was particularly associated with him.


He not only ‘manned the mike’ but he was a major contributor to the organisation of the whole event to ensure that the day went off smoothly for all the participants and in particular the players and the referees.  The Club has recognised Roy’s contribution to the tournament by commissioning a new trophy to be presented to the winners of the Cup competition that will carry the name of our much-missed friend and President.


Prior to the event being played at its’ present home, the tournament had started in 1950 as the ‘brain child’ of the then Honorary Secretary, Bill Whittaker, and it has gone from strength to strength since those formative years when it was contested at Penarth County School until 1963 with one season at Cogan in 1951.  


Last year the withdrawal of several teams meant that the initial stages of the tournament were based on four leagues.  However, the hard work of chief organiser, David James, has to date ensured that the tournament will be contested in the traditional format that sees the first-round winners progress into the next round of the Main Trophy Competition whilst the losers continue their efforts in the Plate Competition. The remaining knock-out rounds decide the winners of both competitions.  


This year the teams competing in the tournament are:


Blaina RFC


Spikey Glove

Old Penarthians








Welsh Warriors

Old Illtydians


Preseli Baa Baas

Cardiff RFC


St. Josephs

Fire Service


St. Peters



Ponty Butchers


The full draw will be as published in the match day programme which will allow entry to the field and can be purchased on the day for £2.00.  Ample car parking is also available at the ground for a cost of £4.00 for which two match day programmes will be provided.   


The inaugural winners were Old Penarthians and the most successful side in the tournament has been Caerphilly GSOB, with nine victories from 13 finals. 


Last year saw the Voyagers reach their third successive final but for the second year in a row they were to lose.  This time Scorpions were crowned champions by 42 points to 12.   Old Penarthians managed to progress to the semi-finals of the Plate competition for the second time in two seasons but were again to fall short of the final when they lost in an overtime shoot-out to the Fire Service after the scores were level at the end of normal time.  The Fire Service were however to lose in the Plate final to Pursuit Warriors, a team made up of Fijians working and living in the South Wales area.  

There is also a Player of the Tournament Trophy, initiated in 1974, and awarded to the player who has made the biggest impact on the day. The first winner was Neil Collins of St Josephs. The only players to have previously won the award twice are David Bishop of Old Illtydians and Matthew Maclean of Glan Taf, but in 2016 Elliot Frewin, of Scorpions, added his name to the roll of honour with his second award. 


The tournament has again attracted a variety of invitational teams as well as teams based upon local rugby clubs.  It is particularly pleasing to see Cardiff RFC represented at the event following recent appearances from the Baby Blues.  Last year’s finalists, Voyagers and Scorpions return as do our English friends from Corsham.  Glantaf always bring a strong squad but there are many unknown quantities in some of the other first-time invitation team entries.  


Old Penarthians will be competing in their 68th event and are now the only ‘ever-present’ team in the competition.  It would perhaps be fitting that Roy’s memory could be celebrated with a home victory in the Main Cup competition for the first time since 1960 although there has been a more recent Plate competition victory in 2013

As usual the Sevens tournament kicks off at 2pm with the final of the main competition due to start at 6.30pm.

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