AoC Sport beach rugby event kicks off Chichester’s ‘Festival of rugby’

AoC Sport’s U19 beach touch rugby event kicked off Chichester’s ‘Festival of Rugby’ last Friday, on West Wittering beach.

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The day was well attended with colleges coming from as far as Birmingham, Wales and Milton Keynes.

24 teams of eight players took part in the national event and in the spirit of this fun, inclusive event, many of those who attended hadn’t played Touch Rugby previously; with a few players who had never been to a beach before.

Organiser, Mark Bonar from Chichester College said. “The irony of this event is that it’s almost more popular in the Midlands than it is locally. When I set up the event eight years ago, it was to be an end of year fun event between the local schools. However word about this competition really seems to have spread via the M40 and we get loads of colleges travelling for hours to take part.”

In an email thanking the organisers, the coach from Milton Keynes said, “(I)desperately wanted to send my appreciation and thanks for such a fantastic rugby tournament. Well organised, friendly event hosted in the true spirit of the game.

“A great way to finish off the week and still over the weekend I was thinking about how much I and the students enjoyed the day. You know you have run a good event when students, without being asked, come and say how much they have enjoyed it and if there are plans to come back next year. Most of whom have not played before.”

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Once again the event was very kindly hosted & sponsored by West Wittering Estate, who allow students from across the UK to take part in this wonderful event on their site.  RFU representatives from Sussex and Surrey supported the event by officiating. During a brief break between games, they all said that the event was one which they looked forward to being involved in.

For the first time, the event was supported by Thorney Island’s 12 Rgt, 12Bty, who took down a (LML) light missile launcher and kit for players to look at, with the opportunity to ask the soldiers about life as serving personnel. Many of the players said how impressed they were with the amount of opportunities there were to play sport and the level of support to allow players to play to elite levels.

Mark said. “I am so grateful to all the organisations that support and make this event so successful. Running an event like this is easy when you have a team of experts support you. Thanks to Chichester College for allowing me time to run this event and Ash Black Photography for covering the event so well and allowing us access to images taken.”

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Honours for this year were as follows:

Cup winners                      Worthing College 2

Cup Runner Up                  Worthing College 1

Plate Winner                      Milton Keynes College

Plate Runner Up                Shoreham Academy

Shield Winner                    Sparsholts

Shield Runner Up              St Vincent, Portsmouth

Fair Play Award                 Collyers College

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