Op Sevens 2003

Bill Twist Sevens 2003

The 6th Annual Old Priorian 7-a-side competition was held at Old Actonians Rugby Club on Sunday 21st September. An entry of eleven teams from a wide range of years at St Benedicts promised a plethora of talented rugby played in good spirit together with a chance to catch up with a lot of old friends.

No one was disappointed.

Nine teams represented 10 different years from St Benedicts. Another team was drawn from a range of volunteers and old boys who help the charity Jet Set take disabled people to Lourdes every year. A large crowd of supporters turned out and with all the rugby being played on one pitch there was plenty of vocal support. With the bar near at hand and the sun shining bright in the late summer sky, the action kicked off at noon.

Two groups of five teams were set up, each team in the group playing each other, with the top two teams from each group going through to the cup, the third team from each group going into the plate and the last two teams from each group being knocked out.

Group A saw some excellent rugby from Phil Hopley’s team of 84/recent leavers & guests. Their nearest threat in the group being the Jet Set team whose good natured rugby and amusing 'showboating' by Peter O'Neil drew a lot of support from the crowd. These two teams finished first and second in the group. Sean Flynn's team played some outstanding rugby but when a few unfortunate scores went against them they found themselves finishing third in the table. Joe Codrington's young team again played very good rugby with good performances from Enright and Allum, but found themselves squeezed out of the group.

Group B had some talented teams and produced some top quality rugby, which got quite heated in a couple of games. The ‘Muffia’ took their time finding their feet but then produced some of the best champagne rugby that the tournament has ever seen, finishing third and going through to the plate. The Super Heroes (OP 93/99) team showed their pedigree with big wins in the group stage, clearly enjoying themselves whilst playing some fast running rugby. John Molony’s team had a few big name stars such as Duggun and Sankey on the side but despite playing some entertaining rugby and putting on a good show their defeat to the Muffia side knocked them out of the tournament. The game between the London Muffia and the superheroes on paper had seemed to be a close call but the close game never seemed to materialise with impressive tires from Jody Dywer and Poly. The Superheroes ran out four tries to nil despite good performances from Will Lunn and JK.

The Cup Semi’s saw Jet Set and the 2001 Class unfortunately losing in two good matches, allowing Hopley's team and the Super Heroes to meet in a much-anticipated final.

Before this the Plate or 'Crate' final took place between Flynn's team and ‘Muffia’. Before kick off, mutterings of “is that picture of us still up in school? You know the one where we're scoring at Twickenham” were heard from the Flynn camp. But with an amazing inspirational speech from their coach the Muffia decided that victory had to be theirs. In a very close game some outstanding rugby was played by both sides and on the final whistle one team edged home. With the good sportsmanship that defined the day, the plate runners up Flynn’s (winners of so many previous tournaments) applauded the victorious Muffia side off the field.

The Cup final saw an explosive match between Hopley's VII and the Super heroes which was made. It was a final that had it all…blood & tears, bone crunching tackling and some sparkling rugby. It seemed that the 30-somethings/recent leavers were to rue a ball dropped over the line resulting from a crunching tackle from Tony Thompson. A couple of minutes into the second half Rash chipped the ball over the cover defence and found the pace to beat the chasing pack to the line with Jody Dywer slotting the conversion the scores board read 7-5 and remained that way when the final whistle blew.

Prizes were presented to the winning Captains with special honours as follows:

Player of the Tournament – Sean Flynn
Man of Steel - Pete Enright
D*** of the Day - Chris Allum

Matters didn’t finish there as people moved into the bar via the bbq for a long night of catching up and bragging about performances on & off the field; the Veterans salvaging their pride with a comprehensive victory in the Boat Race. Some fine tunes were blasted out by Chris Allum’s band to give a real party feel to the evening.

The raffle also saw a last bit of controversy as Michael Toolan’s (a committee member) ticket was pulled from the hat for the £100 holiday voucher, upon consulting the rule book Nick Farren had no choice but to order a re draw which left poor Mic looking like he would need an oxygen mask to get over the shock. Looks like it will be another holiday to Blackpool again this year Mic…….

The day was once again a tremendously successful Old Priorian event, which will no doubt continue to grow next year. We hope to see a further increase in the number of teams entered – see below for details. The event is always held at a time that allows those at University / College to participate.

A huge vote of thanks goes to Nicholas Farren Sean Corcoran who ran the administration on the day and to Mark Carlin and his band of volunteer referees. We very much appreciated the support of the Old Priorian Association whose sponsorship allowed us to purchase tournament prizes, provide first aid kits and fund a physiotherapist for the day. Thanks also to Ealing Travel Service for purchasing the raffle prizes.

Particular thanks though must go to all the players and supporters for continuing to make this event such a special day for all Old Priorians, their friends and families. If you are interested in joining the OPRFC (who play a selection of matches through the season) or entering a team for next years sevens tournament please email oldpriorian7s@hotmail.com

Alexander Pereira-Inacio