Claims of a new world record for seven-a-side rugby union games had grounds of credibility after a resoundingly successful three-day carnival involving the NSW Rugby Union’s Waratah Sevens State championships at Tuncurry last Friday to Sunday.
Following the wall-to-wall, near non-stop games of rugby at four grounds at Harry Elliott Oval and Peter Bradley Field, tournament director, Michael Doyle glowed.
“It’s a world record, never been done before: 80 teams and 215 games over three days. It’s been immense,” he said.
The teams of 17-year-olds, 15-year-olds and 13-years-old were assembled from all over NSW for games beginning at 8am last Friday and ending at 2.30pm on Sunday.
Significantly, Sydney first grade clubs were prominent again, among them Manly’s electrifying 17-year-old youths’ team which won their final from the Sydney Cavaliers, 21-17, while Burraneer from the Taren Point region in Sydney were successful in the girls’ 17-year final.
Former World Cup-winning hooker, Phil Kearns, looking as well as in his test prime, attended the carnival and related with much pleasure that his Randwick club had been successful earlier in the season in the first and reserve grade Colts premierships in Sydney.
But, likewise, it was grand to see the colours of other Sydney powerhouses of the past such as the Gordon Highlanders, the Parramatta Two Blues and West Harbour Pirates.
Rugby union has never been the same since Australia won the inaugural “Sevens” rugby event at the Rio Olympics when the selectors scoured the nation for speedsters and the team scorched the Brazilian earth to win the gold medal.
It was an exhausting three days for the Forster Tuncurry Dolphins committee and big-hearted volunteers attending to the requirements of the 800 players and as many as 600 adults, the players’ parents and team officials.
Before a ball was kicked, Sue and Gerard Hobbs, the Dolphins’ secretariat, outlaid $5000 for foodstuffs and cold drinks for the first day’s provisions, all stocked in the club’s refrigerators.
Everything was sold on the opening day.
The Dolphins’ peerless club president, Damian Daczko, spent Thursday evening putting out seating and tables, strapping on goalpost pads and roping off the playing fields at Barclay Field.
Mid-Coast Council branded the Waratah Sevens “a special event” and their splendid Ms Chris Koch sent out a work team to mark the playing fields. The Tuncurry Beach Bowling Club excelled itself by despatching 500 $10 meal vouchers.
Due to the ages of the teams, not a drop of hard liquor was to be found in the clubhouse. “It made a grown man weep to see the refrigerators empty of beer,” one observed.
Michael Doyle’s parting words left the Dolphins committee quaking with fear: “It’s been unbelievable. Everything went like clockwork, a wonderful facility for us. I’m sure we’ll be back next year.”
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