13 June 2024 / Club News

Report of 2024 Sevens Tournament

On Saturday 8th June Old Penarthians RFC hosted their 73rd Annual Seven-a Side tournament.  The weather in the two weeks leading up to the event had been variable with intermittent rain and some sun which had encouraged grass growth. With volunteers filling in some holes on the pitches with topsoil, Cwrt-y-vil was therefore in very good condition and the risk of cuts and bruises to the players was greatly reduced.

The day itself was warm and sunny with a slightly cooling wind, ideal for both the players and the supporters who attended a  thoroughly entertaining afternoon of top-class Sevens rugby.

Planning for the event under the chairmanship of Stephen Clarke was not without some hiccups with initially the cancelation of the Women’s tournament and then the withdrawal of one team from the Mens tournament in the week leading up to the event, which was too late for  a reserve team to be drafted in.

Unfortunately, on the day of the event one team did not attend and despite numerous appeals from the caravan announcer, the organisers decided that the Men’s tournament would proceed with eight sides competing in two pools of four teams.

It meant that play could be maintained on the main pitch in front of the hospitality tent and clubhouse but games were restricted on Pitch 2.  In turn this enabled Ken Shaw and Robin Lynn as Pitch 2 record keepers a relatively early retirement for refreshments. The announcers’ caravan was however unphased and thanks go to Tony Crimp, Darren Harris and music mixers, Clare Reeve and Chloe Thomas, for ensuring that the playing schedule was maintained and the spectators were not really aware of the absentees.

The tournament therefore comprised a pool containing the 2023 Cup winners Godfathers, the Voyagers who had won the 2023 Plate competition, Cardiff Met and newcomers to the event Wrong Turn 7s. The second pool consisted of Glantaf Goats, two more newcomers to the tournament Conquer Knights Rugby and Kappa Welsh Wizards and Old Penarthians, now the only team to have a 100% attendance record at the longest running Sevens Tournament in Wales.

In each Pool all the teams were assured of three matches with the top side in each pool playing in the Roy Churchill Cup Final and the second placed teams in each pool playing for the Golden Jubilee Plate.

In Pool A there was a clear winner with the Godfathers defeating all their opposition and in the process scoring 124 points, including 19 tries, and conceding only 10 points.  Their closest game was their first match against Voyagers which they won by 27points to 5.  It was therefore perhaps fitting that Voyagers took second place in the Pool and progressed to the Plate Final as they won their two remaining fixtures. Cardiff Met won one game and were third and Wrong Turn 7s were placed fourth.

Pool B was a more evenly contested affair with Glantaf Goats eventually winning all three of their matches but on two occasions they had to overcome first half deficits. In particular, the game against Kappa Welsh Wizards was only decided with a try on the stroke of full time and a victory by 21 points to 17.  Until that try the pool would have been decided by points difference as three of the teams would have had two victories each.

The headache in resolving that problem in the caravan having been avoided the second placed team progressing to the Plate Final with two wins was Conquer Knights Rugby.  Kappa Welsh Wizards were placed third with one win and the winless Old Penarthians were fourth, but they did raise one of the loudest cheers of the afternoon when Connor Christie scored a try which he then converted in their game against Glantaf Goats.

So to the finals, and first up was the men’s Jubilee Plate competition which saw the runners-up from each pool, Voyagers and Conquer Knights Rugby contest the final.  In the end it was a one-sided contest with the Knights running out winners by 57 – 7. Lawrence Thomas scoring four tries and Ben Gregory two. Credit does however go to Voyagers who attended the tournament, under the management of former Penarth resident Nigel Connell, with a depleted squad and still reached a final and in the process gave playing opportunities to several players from the successful Old Penarthians Youth XV.

The last match of the day, played for the Roy Churchill Cup, was a repeat of the 2023 final between Godfathers and Glantaf Goats and was again a great exhibition of Sevens rugby with strong defences and patient attacking play interspersed with individual skills.  Glantaf got off to a flying start and led 5-0 through a Tomas Chidley try after one minute before Godfathers scored two converted tries to lead 14-5 at the interval.

An early second half try from Cam Johnson saw Godfathers stretch their lead to 21 -5 before two converted tries brought Glantaf right back into the contest at 19 – 21 and looking for their third comeback win of the  afternoon. This time it was not to be and Godfathers held on to retain the Churchill Cup.

A fitting finale to an exciting day of sport that could not have happened without the band of volunteers and helpers from all sections of the club under the watchful eyes of Laura Davies and Hedydd Lewis. The Club is indebted to all the volunteers for their efforts in making the event a special day in the rugby calendar in Wales.

After the finals, the presentations were made to the winning captains by John Manders, WRU Director and Chair of the Community Game, Old Penarthians Club Chairman, Stephen Clarke and Marc Morrish of Auction House Wales, who were tournament sponsors for the third time.

The winner of the individual award for ‘Player of the Tournament’ went to Cam Johnson of Godfathers for consistent try scoring throughout the afternoon with special mentions to Ewan Bawden of Godfathers and Josh Atkinson of Glantaf Goats

The results of all the matches are shown below

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