The OPRFC Annual Sevens competition 2002
With a new venue, increased publicity and as ever a glorious day it was with much enthusiasm that the fifth Old Priorian Association RFC Sevens tournament commenced. After a poor showing last year, the committee took drastic measures to ensure that there was no repeat performance this time around. Old Actonians provided perfect onsite facilities with the focus around one pitch creating a lively atmostphere from a steady flow of supporters throughout the day.
However, it was on the pitch that the most drastic changes were seen. The 1996 leavers continue to set the standard but for the first time the gap was genuinely closed. This was in part due to the allowance of three guest players per team but also due to the involvement of a broader range of Old Priorian. On this note a special mention must be attributed to the 1984 leavers (pictured below). Headed by Phil Hopley, they arrived early (’95 leavers take note), fully kitted out, with a squad of over fifteen and a few month’s hard training behind them. Without doubt they were the neutrals choice for victory but unfortunately it wasn’t to be. Despite committed but fair competition from the 2000, 2001 and 2002 leavers it was left to the seasoned campaigners of ’96 to once again take the crown with John Byrne’s intimidating tactics ensuring that the 1992 leavers took the plate award.
The day didn’t finish once the rugby was over though. Whether it was the lure of alcohol or the fact that the Ryder Cup was reaching its climax we cannot be sure, but the majority adjourned to the bar. Master of ceremonies Michael Toolan organised the annual boat race and Priorians encompassing nearly 20 years mingled together, thoroughly enjoying each other’s company. The festivities continued late into the night, pausing momentarily for a brief appearance by a certain Mr Finnegan who proved that Elvis really isn’t dead!
All in all the day was a resounding success. The support and enthusiasm has breathed new life into the rugby club. It only leaves us to thank all those who played and supported and we look forward to seeing you all again next year.