December 9 2013 Latest news:
Friday, September 6, 2013
In the shadow of Scroby windfarm, it is home to North Sea seals lazing on the sand.
But Scroby Bank will swap sea mammals and birds for cricket bats and rugby balls when 22 players sail out for a charity match next Sunday, September 15.
Organisers have worked closely with the RSPB and Natural England to ensure there is no disruption to seals or little terns when they host their inaugural Scroby Challenge.
And the unusual fixture was dreamt up when Andy Ruddick, who has been a member of Broadland-Great Yarmouth RFC and Great Yarmouth Cricket Club, spotted both clubs were celebrating milestone years - 30 for the rugby club and 20 for cricket.
“It came about in a strange way,” explained Mr Ruddick. “When I go to the beach rugby matches they say it would be great to play rugby matches out there, and when I twigged there was a coincidence that both clubs had milestone years I said why don’t we do it.
“And if you open your mouth, you get the job of organising it!”
He has worked as joint organiser, in tandem with Lee Fitzsimmons of the cricket club, to set everything in place.
While football matches on Scroby are rooted in Yarmouth folklore, it will be the first cricket and rugby match.
And Mr Ruddick has hailed Gardline for laying on a free boat from the quayside, and the RSPB for helping negotiate other hurdles.
He said little terns stop at Scroby before they fly to Africa, but Mark Smart from the RSPB advised that after August they will not be disturbed and seals will not be breeding there in September.
Gardline also helped advise on tide times, with the cricket and rugby teams aiming to play each other at their respective sports within three hours.
And now thoughts are turning to the competition.
“Everyone is aware this is a fun event, but as soon as sportsmen go across that metaphorical white line they play to win,” said Mr Ruddick. “They will do their utmost as they don’t know any other way.
“If they go through more than four balls we’re stopping the game. We don’t have any more!
“If it gets really hit and the winds get behind it we won’t want to swim.”
Come bad weather, the teams have a back up date of September 29. They aim to raise £800 to help Gorleston Lifeboat and East Anglia Children’s Hospice, with the first £100 given to the RSPB to help the Winterton tern colony.
The teams’ total stands at more than £240 already.
Players will sail out in mid-morning to compete, playing adapted versions of the sports - with tag rugby to reduce the risk of injury.
For further details, see www.thescrobychallenge.com
To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/Andrew-Ruddick
Alternatively text SCBY83 £ (value you wish to donate) to 70070. Organisers said small donations are very welcome and the system accepts sums from £1.