St Ives may have been stung by the cancellation of all grassroots competitive league rugby for this season but they still managed to get in a tournament of sorts prior to the government’s restrictions.
The RFU beat Boris Johnson to the punch, announcing the postponement prior to the Prime Minister’s press conference.
The top two leagues for men and the Premier 15s for women will be allowed to continue but the sport’s governing body made the early decision as they believe “even if a return to full contact rugby becomes possible, playing a meaningful competitive league season resulting in promotion and relegation is no longer feasible”.
They are still pushing for some form of contact rugby that will enable as many matches to take place as possible.
Sports minister Nigel Huddleston said: “There is an increasing appetite to play an adapted format of rugby rather than having no fixtures at all.
“We will do everything we can to enable the rugby community to return to contact play as soon as we can.”
And it is there that St Ives found their opportunity.
They held a successful intra-club Ready4Rugby competition, a new and adapted version of the touch rugby game.
Held at their last training session, five teams of adults battled it out under the new floodlights at Somersham Road with some fast and furious matches that were often close and high scoring.
Coming out victorious was club captain Josh Dear’s Dynamite team, pipping the Mickey Drake-led Destroyers after the latter could only manage a draw in their final match.
Coach Max Dominy said: “While there are other important things going on around us, it was great to see the lads putting all their energies into the games. They practised what we have been training hard to achieve and played with smiles on their faces.”
Director of rugby Phil Brown added: “With the announcement of no league fixtures for the season, it was great to see 50 guys, including four new players on the night, still determined to enjoy themselves at the club.
“New players aged from six to 60 are encouraged to keep an eye out for news of future activity and will be welcomed at the Chicken Shack.”
There was also the usual amount of shenanigans and fun.
Dave Sykes joined a far lengthier list than you may imagine, diving over a line to score only to find out it was 10 metres short of the actual try-line, while Jamie Noble brought cheers with a toe-flick bringing a try.
Josh Dear was named player of the tournament while Andrew Hutchinson and Jobey Wadd supplied positive encouragement throughout and undying energy and support.