Feast of rugby expected at North Walsham’s annual sevens tournament

Action from the North Walsham Sevens 2012 tournament. Picture: Hywel Jones

Action from the North Walsham Sevens 2012 tournament. Picture: Hywel Jones - Credit: Archant

A feast of rugby is set be enjoyed by players from around the region at Scottow tomorrow, for North Walsham Rugby Club's annual sevens tournament.

A full complement of 16 men's teams will be competing for the Jill Hambling Cup – named after a club member of over 25 years – and £500 in prize money.

It is also hoped that up to eight ladies teams will be in the fray for £250 and the George Campbell Shield, which is named after Walsham's former player and youth coach. Runners up will receive £250 and £150 respectively.

In the men's competition, last year's victors the Thundercats, now in the guise of the Apollo 7s, who are from Walsham's London One North rivals Westcliff in Essex, are returning to defend their crown.

Last year's runners-up, north Norfolk based Charolais Bulls, and 2012 winners the Sydney Knights, who draw their players from North Walsham as well as clubs and universities all round the country, also return this year.

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According to one of the event's organisers, Dan Goodrich, the form book shows that it could be a hard fought battle for honours. 'The Charolais Bulls, Apollo 7s and Sydney Knights are consistently strong and could each take victory,' Goodrich said.

'While Wymondham Trojans, who have a number of Bedford Blues players in their team and stronger than ever, look like they will provide very stiff opposition.

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'That's not to say any of the other teams could not provide some upsets – the competition is very open indeed.'

A number of local clubs are represented, including Norwich, Lowestoft & Yarmouth, North Walsham, Norwich Medics and Stowmarket, and teams from further afield include the University of Winchester Power Frogs and University of York.

The ladies' competition features teams from the strongly fancied Woodbridge Amazons, Thunder Birds and Lakenham Hewitt.

The tournament, this year sponsored by timber and builders merchants Jewson, starts at 10am and will run until around 6pm.

Each seven-a-side game lasts seven minutes each way, with the final lasting 10 minutes each way, and is being played on two pitches.

Goodrich added: 'We are delighted that so many teams are playing – in fact we have brought forward kick-off by an hour to accommodate the number of teams.

'Rugby sevens is all about fun and it will be a fun day both for players and spectators, with a beer festival featuring 21 local beers, hog roast and a Pimm's tent among the attractions.

'We are also planning a world record attempt just before the final and very much hope that everyone will stay right up to the end to find out about it, watch – or even join in.'

Entry to the tournament is £2 per person, car parking is free. For more information, follow @Walsham7s on Twitter.

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