The Coleraine U11 mini rugby squad ended their mini rugby careers and their season on a high at the Tigers Challenge rugby tournament held in Minehead.
Teams from all over England, Scotland and Wales attend this tournament with over 1000 players attending the event.
Both Coleraine teams played extremely well with one team coming home victorious with the Tigers Challenge Shield.
Coleraine Mini Rugbys main sponsor – McClartys Insurance were extremely generous in donating a tour kit on behalf of their Its4women.ie car insurance brand. This pink and blue kit stood out from all the other kits at the tournament and attracted many comments and photo requests by other teams and their supporters. Other local businesses including The Bank of Ireland, New Society Café Coleraine, McCaughans Pharmacy Ballycastle, Warkes Deli Portstewart, Northern Ireland Energy Rating and Frylite also came on board with donations without which the tour just wouldn’t have been such a success.
The U11 squad was divided into 2 teams – The Coleraine Giants and The Coleraine Legends. Teams consisted of 9 players with substitutes.
The Legends topped their group without losing a game with superb performances from every boy.
The Giants were runners up in their group after some superb running rugby and ferocious tackling. The only team to narrowly beat the Giants was a district rugby side from Pontypridd in Wales.
The knockout stages followed the next day with the sun shining and the weather warm. Supporters were wearing their t-shirts, shorts and sunglasses such was the glorious weather.
The Legends who were in the Cup competition unfortunately lost their semifinal to the Pontypridd district side as the Giants had done the previous day but went on to win their 3rd place play-off match with a very entertaining game filled with passion and excitement.
Jack Hart and Jack Devenney , both who attended Damhead Primary School played particularly well and showed great skill and pace.
The Giants who were in the shield competition came up against Shipton on Stour 2’s and went on to win the game by four tries to nil.
This qualified them for the shield final where they played against Shipston on Stour 1’s where after powerful dominance by the forwards where Matthew Murphy excelled and some slick passing moves by the backs they won the Tigers Challenge shield by six tries to nil.
Needless to say – much celebrating followed by the team and coaches after this superb result.
The team spirit and togetherness of the coaches, boys and parents during their time at the Tigers Challenge was second to none and the most emotional parents prize was deservedly won by Sandra Hunter and Tara Hughes who needed several boxes of tissues to dry their eyes after witnessing the boys in both teams play their final mini rugby matches and hence end what has been a tremendous experience during the previous 6 years of playing rugby as part of this squad.
The coaches, David Curry, Neil Campbell, Andy Draycott, Dave Ilsley, Paul Hughes and Richard Orr would like to thank Coleraine Mini Rugby Academy, the parents and not forgetting the boys, for the opportunity to coach, for the opportunity to have such fun and for the opportunity to hopefully forge lifelong friendships.
Of particular note was Charlie Orr who after scoring from the first kick off in the first game of the tournament with a brilliant individual try seemed to go from strength to strength throughout the two days and was awarded the player of the tournament by the Coleraine coaches at the end of season awards dinner.