- Records all round as temperatures soar
- Mighty Atoms make successful return
Morecambe’s most famous son Eric was a champion of sport and entertainment, so even as a confirmed soccer man he would doubtless have managed a smile at the efforts of the rugby enthusiasts who populated the town’s beach recently.
Beach tag rugby blossoms when the sun shines and temperatures soar and so it proved at Morecambe when a record attendance of 12 teams and 120 players braved record temperatures as the thermometer and the entry both reached record heights.
The field included returning teams Bondys Beachtrotters, Arnside Warriors, Vikings and Baywatch, with two teams from Heysham Atoms taking advantage of a free weekend in their Summer RL programme to return to the event after a year out.
New teams came from Lancaster Royal Grammer School 6th Form, Scough Dogs (Myerscough College), Garstang RUFC, FGH Spartans Security, Vale of Lune Tag Ons and Dogies, a team from the University of Cumbria.
With 10ft plastic rugby posts to add authenticity and the sun shining brightly, a competitive tournament unfolded via two leagues of six teams, with all players able to play as much, or as little as they felt comfortable with on a hot day.
Group A was won by Atoms A, who pipped Vale of Lune Tag Ons for top spot, while Group B was a lot tighter with Atoms B just edging out Lancaster Royal GS.
The group games provided plenty of tries and some quite impressive “swan dives” that would not look out of place at Twickenham Stadium. Each team played one more game against the respective team in the other group, but all eyes were on the all Heysham Atoms final with the title and bragging rights at stake.
Atoms B started the brighter and went into a 4-1 lead in the 10-minute game, refereed superbly by Roscoe Travis, but some entertaining play by Atoms A brought it back to 4-4 by the full-time whistle to set up a “Golden Try” finale.
Atoms A won the toss and the ball and did not make a mistake with some great support play to score the winning try and regain the trophy they last won in 2011.
RFU Community Rugby Coach, Martin Powell, who organised the event, said: “With over 120 players taking part it was the biggest Morecambe Beach Rugby yet, offering something a little different to get people interested in the sport.
“I think that by the end of the day a lot of players would have preferred to play the games in the sea instead of the beach, but we had another successful event and with the interest we have generated, we will be looking to grow it even more with a juniors league and possibly a ladies only league to attract even more potential players.
“Thanks go to all referees who volunteered their time to support the event, spectators who stayed to watch, players and team organisers who took the time to ensure the event could run.”
Anyone who would further details of rugby opportunities in the local area should contact Martin Powell on MartinPowell@RFU.com or 07894 489418.