New youth rugby competition bringing players back to clubs

Stamford Rugby U17s dominate the scrum against Huntingdon. Photo: Pip Warters - www.acelensman.com EMN-151222-152233001

Stamford Rugby U17s dominate the scrum against Huntingdon. Photo: Pip Warters - www.acelensman.com EMN-151222-152233001

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A brand new event in Stamford Rugby’s calendar came to fruition on the Sunday before Christmas - The Colts Old Boys Tournament.

The event was the brainchild of Stamford Rugby colts coach Jeremy Cox.

The idea was to host an event that helps with player retention by way of contact with local clubs after players leave school and go on to university, or other careers.

Nearly 100 ex-colts from Stamford, Oakham and Huntingdon clubs met on an unseasonably sunny and mild afternoon for matches between the current U17 teams, colts and Old Boys, with Oakham showing as the strongest side on the day.

Stamford Colts lost 5-0 to Huntingdon Colts and then went down 12-0 to Oakham Colts.

Huntingdon Colts were then beaten 7-17 by Oakham Colts.

Stamford COBs lost 22-41 to Oakham/Hunts COBs Barbarians.

All three clubs know each other well and regularly compete against each other in various leagues but the emphasis was very much on social rugby.

Twenty five players had returned from university, jobs and the armed forces to rejoin their former teammates for the day. Stamford won the COBs Shield based on player numbers and spectator support, assisted by having the home advantage.

Commemorative shirts were issued to all participants and were kindly sponsored by BGL Group and Sewaco Ltd. Gavin Hall and Alan Steane were also on hand, from Leicestershire Rubgy Union Referees Society to ensure a safe and competitive environment.

#TeamGeorge were also present, selling shirts and hats in support of Stamford Colts player 
George Robinson, who was badly injured during a school rugby tour in South Africa in the summer.

The chairman of Sewaco Ltd Tim Cox said:“The junior section of Stamford Rugby has grown in strength exponentially over the past five years and has culminated in a new, revitalised colts section.

Last season’s U19s have contributed a number of players to Stamford Rugby’s current development XV at the beginning of this season, hugely rewarding for the colts’ coaching staff.”

The intention is to make the COBs Shield a regular event, with clubs taking it in turns to host it, hoping to maintain club and player contact in the 18 - 24 age group, which has historically been a struggle, replicated across clubs nationally.