Chichester champs among mini rugby festival success stories
On a beautiful morning, Chichester RFC hosted the Sussex mini final rugby festival, the pinnacle of the county's mini rugby calendar.
More than 350 children and 600 adults from teams across Sussex descended upon Oaklands Park for a full day of rugby.
Kevin Blaikston, chairman of Sussex Mini Rugby, and David Hooker, chairman of Sussex Youth Rugby, were both present.
Chichester was well represented with teams in four age groups.
The competition is for under-sevens up to under-12s and the top teams in the county compete to be crowned county champions. The festival is based on a pool system with the winner of the pool taking away the title.
The skills shown were outstanding with players side-stepping and jinking their way to score. The tackling was ferocious with some of the games seeing only one try scored, which shows a strong defence.
Chichester RFC thanked sponsors who made generous donations towards the club and the helpers and parents who gave up their morning to make the event a great success.
The festival is an annual event and if any company or individual would like to get involved next year please let the club know. Chichester have more than 500 children registered from under-six to under-18. Mini and junior training is every Sunday starting at 10am – for further information see www.pitchero.com/clubs/chichester/
Chi’s under-eights had a tough start against Hove but won by eight tries to five.
Against Heathfield, Chi felt it would be their toughest test but triumphed 5-3 – then against Eastbourne, a 7-7 draw ensued.
Last up was a vital game with Hastings & Bexhill and this turned into Chi’s best game defensively as they won 8-4 to be delcared age-group winners.
Chichester RFC’s under-tens successfully defended their Sussex champions’ title to take the crown for an incredible third year.
This is an extraordinary achievement, unsurpassed in any age group, for a young team who have been undefeated this season.
The boys started playing together as under-sixes at CRFC and their head coach Walter Womersley said: “Over the years the boys have created a unique bond and their commitment and determination never fails to impress all those that watch them.
“They always give it their all and they are relentless in both attack and defence. Most importantly, though, they just love their rugby and really enjoy playing.
“The support throughout the mini and junior section, as well the improved facilities and equipment, has meant mini rugby at Chichester is going from strength to strength.”
The team won the Sussex West regional at Pulborough in March which put them into the Sussex cup final to play the winners of the other Sussex regionals - Hove, Brighton and Crowborough.
Against Hove, the team showed early nerves, drawing 1-1. In the next two matches they found their form and scored ten tries, without conceding any, against Brighton (4-0) and Crowborough (6-0).
Team coach Simon Langford said: “It was a great day in the sunshine, full of running rugby, immense defence, hard rucking and tremendous try scoring!
“The ‘never-say-die’ attitude of the boys was a proud highlight of the day. The whole squad were involved and the half-time and full-time discussions led by them, self-critiquing and working out what needed to be done just shows what a talented bunch of boys we are lucky to have at Chichester in the under-tens.”
CHI U10s: Tom Bosley, Hugo Francis-Braconi, Hughie Fleming, Henry Langford, Conor McCormack, Thomas Machell, Rory Minton, Jack Nay, Sean Savage, Edward Timberlake, Jakey Wood. Coaches: Simon Langford, Mark Timberlake, Simon Howell, Walter Womersley.
Winners and runners-up were as follows: U7 - Champions – Crowborough; Runners Up – Lewes; Bowl Winners – Horsham; Plate Winners – Chichester. U8 - Champions – Chichester; Runners Up – Heathfield; Bowl Winners – Hove; Plate Winners – Hastings & Bexhill; Salver Winners – Eastbourne. U9 - Champions – Hove; Runners Up – Chichester; Bowl Winners – Lewes; Plate Winners – Uckfield. U10 - Champions – Chichester; Runners Up – Hove; Bowl Winners – Brighton; Plate Winners – Crowborough. U11 - Champions – Haywards Heath; Runners Up – Pulborough; Bowl Winners – Brighton; Plate Winners – Crowborough. U12 - Champions – Haywards Heath; Runners Up – Worthing; Bowl Winners – Heathfield; Plate Winners – Lewes.
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