Our first experience of rugby sevens was in Ireland at the Heineken Kinsale 7s in May 2011. We were covering the event for the giant American retailer, Party City. They had entered a team made up of 8 students from Bath University, one from Exeter University and a player from Clonakilty RFC.
On the opening day the boys beat the Dutch National team in bright sunshine but on the second day in heavy rain lost to the Irish Wolfhounds. Lessons learnt- take a gazebo in future. Memories made- seeing the likes of Nick Royle, Dan Bibby and Richard De Carpentier.
Over the years we have developed our interest in sevens rugby and been privileged to share our stories with the readers of TRU. We have a soft spot for Kinsale, we loved the quality of the rugby at Bournemouth, we made new friends at Chester, we have seen Skofic7s grow and got the chance to work with David Strettle and Matt Stevens at 7sintheCity.
Rugby in the northwest of England flourishes with Lancashire the County Champions, a resurgent Sale Sharks, the viewing pleasure of Fylde and the camaraderie of Sedgley Park. Although Chester7s and the Skofic7s provide great tournaments, it is crucial to 7s rugby that a major 7s festival is established. Featuring multi-sports and music. In reality there are three possible venues, Liverpool, Wigan or Manchester.
As all cricket fans know, it rains "this side of the Pennines". So in 2014, it was with great anticipation we headed to Broughton Park Rugby Club,still drying out from our weekend in Kinsale. This was the venue for a newly established festival, the City of Manchester7s. There were some great elite teams featured including Samurai and North Wales Exiles but plenty of social teams and women's teams. The rugby was hot but was the weather? Watch here as Alastair Symondson explored the festival.