Shelford Rugby Club to host summer sevens festival
Shelford are hoping to feed the appetite for rugby by hosting a sevens festival this summer.
The game has been on pause below the Championship since March 2020, with training and matches under adapted laws permitted but subsequent lockdowns putting a halt to those plans.
Rugby players have been heading back to pitches since March 29 and, if the government’s roadmap allows for smooth travel, then the full games should be back by the end of June.
That will allow the Shelford Sevens Festival to take place on July 10.
“It’s something we’ve wanted to do for a while. We’ve held sevens tournaments but they’ve been tournaments not festivals,” said Louis Mann, Shelford’s commercial manager.
“With such a hunger for rugby this year, for obvious reasons, we decided this was the year we wanted to make something really big out of it.
“There are so many teams like us, and sevens circuit teams that are hungry for it, that the timing was right really.”
The tournaments were with a limited number of teams, but the Sevens Festival has space for up to 48 sides across three different categories, with 42 already taken.
It is planned to also feature live music, food trucks and other events, such as a climbing wall.
The categories are men’s open, women’s open and men’s social.
“The decision was partly helped by our adult section in that we have three sections – the men’s senior squad, the men’s III/IV/V squad which is the social tiers, and then we’ve got a women’s squad,” said Mann.
“Also, we’ve worked in partnership with Norwich Sevens festival and based the tiers on what is popular – they have gone through the exact same set-up.”
There are 16 confirmed teams already in the men’s open and men’s social categories, including a Pacific Islanders UK side.
“They have entered an elite team into the open and a vets team into the social, and there could be some famous names scattered amongst the vets,” said Mann.
“We’ve got one entered by the tournament sponsors, Pringle Farm, and that is likely to consist of a lot of National One players with some Championship development players sprinkled in. There is another team called the Random Ruckers which is a Coventry/Leicester Lions mix and most of the other teams entered are around Levels 5 and 6.”
The Yard at Pringle Farm are sponsoring the women’s open, Pellys is backing the men’s open and Hun Wine is supporting the men’s social competition.
Mann added: “I see this as the celebration moment. It’s shortly after the final restrictions should be lifted so not only can we have the rugby taking place, but hopefully supporters won’t need to be herded into groups of six or separated.
“Hopefully it will be the first rugby event we’re throwing that will be normal.”