On the 6th of March 2019, located at
King George V playing fields, ten primary schools (12 teams in total) aged between year 5 and 6 competed in an annual tag rugby festival. The conditions were wet and muddy making it more of a challenge for all teams, but they all made the most of it nonetheless.
Before the event, Stevenage Town RFC main role was to supply volunteers that could referee the matches on the day. Kerri Duffy, Chris McGrath and I hatched a plan in using the U15 Scorpion Girls and Riley (Scorpion Boys) to represent the club in refereeing the matches. They soon realised it was a real challenge and a different world on the other side of the whistle. However, without their support the event would have never gone through. They showed great leadership and were resilient throughout the day. They should be proud of themselves. A big ‘thank you’ is definitely in order to show our gratitude for their work.
On the day there were six tag rugby fields and with the help of the Stevenage Sporting Future’s apprentices we were able to field two referees per pitch. The Schools who were participating were St Ippolyts, Broom Barns, Codicote, Larwood, Round Diamond, Bedwell, Peartree Spring, Knebworth, Almond Hill and St Nicholas. The festival was split into a morning and afternoon session. The morning was organised by a round robin structure, where the afternoon matches were split according to their morning results. This enabled fair matches throughout the festival. In the morning all teams got a chance to play five matches and an extra two matches in the afternoon. We wanted to make sure everyone had an opportunity to experience a range of different tag rugby situations.
The event itself was an opportunity to experience tag rugby at a range of different levels from participating, referring and organising. It was a chance to demonstrate what rugby could do for those involved but most importantly to have fun. After each match the teams were assessed on their sportsmanship and their tag rugby performance. Each team were given scores and at the end of the day the scores would be added together to determine who deserved the “Lillibet Fair Play” award and best performance award. Some team’s rugby ability was exceptional, some teams respect was excellent, and some teams were very ambitious. It was a learning environment for everyone to find a balance between all categories. Throughout the day all teams were improving as the day went on which was a nice reward for the organisers.
In the end, St Nicholas were awarded the “Lillibet Fair Play” award.
Round Diamond were awarded with the best tag rugby performance of the day.
Leading up to the event, I was excited to see all the schools involved in the festival.
I thoroughly enjoyed working alongside Stevenage Sporting Futures in preparation for the festival. It was really good to see the enthusiasm of the kids playing rugby and hopefully this has a bigger impact on the rugby scene in Stevenage.
Once again thank you to Stevenage Sporting Futures, the Scorpion volunteers and the schools who got involved and participated to make this day happen.
Looking forward to seeing the kids playing in the future.