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Stars of the sevens circuit to descend on Shelford festival

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Pacific Islanders v Random Ruckers in action at the Shelford Sevens Festival. Picture: Mike Harris (49135820)
Pacific Islanders v Random Ruckers in action at the Shelford Sevens Festival. Picture: Mike Harris (49135820)

The Davey Field is braced for the need for speed as the Shelford Sevens festival returns this Saturday (May 21).

The event, sponsored by The Yard@Pringle Farm, was held for the first time last year and, cutting loose from the Covid-19 red tape of 12 months ago, looks set to be another bumper competition.

Thirty-eight teams have entered the men’s and women’s open competitions and the men’s social event, with the rugby due to get under way at 10am and run until the final at 7.40pm.

There even looks set to be sevens ‘royalty’ in attendance as China have entered two teams, and they are coached by former England sevens legend Dan Norton, who is the all-time leading try scorer in the sevens series with 358, and former international team-mate Ollie Phillips, who went on to play in the Varsity Match for Cambridge University.

Shelford Rugby Club secretary Mikael Biard said: “It’s the same competitons from last year, but what we’ve learned from the last one is we’ve got the schedule of matches working better so we’re trying to ensure there is less time waiting and then bursts of games. We’re trying to make it more paced out properly for the teams.

“It was in July last year and just after we were allowed to start getting together post-Covid. We weren’t really allowed to be inside, but outside was a little bit more relaxed. People had to be more reserved in their enjoyment of events.

“This year will be nice because we’re going to be able to do a little bit more of the things that we wished we could have done last year – a bit more music and a little bit more of the fun, which following the guidelines last year we couldn’t do.

“We’ve got all kinds of teams. Excitingly we’ve got the China sevens team coming down, they are coached by Ollie Phillips and Dan Norton, and they are entering two sides in the men’s open. We’ve got a Sappers team and a classic Fijian team called the Yasawa Marlins, and they got drawn in the pool with one of the Chinese sides. Across the board, there are some really competitive pools going on so it will be really exciting.”

A host of food trucks and bars will be there on the day, while the RJ Archer & the Painful Memories band will be performing in the evening. Entry costs £5, while car parking is £5 per vehicle.

Men’s Open draw: Pool 1 – Shelford RC, 7 Dwarves, The Pillagers; Pool 2 – China Dragons (national team), Oxfam Crusaders, The Hammerheads; Pool 3 – Dardanites, Biting Badgers, CRX Marlborough; Pool 4 – Chinese Tigers (national team), Yasawa Marlins, The Sappers. Women’s Open: Pool 1 – Hammerheads, Peacocks, Cambridge University, The Pillagers, Pacific Islanders; Pool 2 – Shelford RC, Sudbury Sapphires, University of East Anglia, Bury Foxes, Cambridge RUFC. Men’s Social: Pool 1 – Peacocks, Beder 7s, 7 Boys 1 Cup, The Little Dogs; Pool 2 – ARU, Norwich RFC, Sudbury Stallions, Richmond Renegades; Pool 3 – Shelford RC, Cambridge Phoenix, Jamaica Blues, 10 Blokes & A Nugget; Pool 4 – Pacific Islanders, Old Town Roadians, Holt RFC, Hills Road.

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