UK RUGBY SEVENS MAGAZINE - LATEST NEWS
It’s a tough one to get a tournament right. A lot of things need to fall into place for everything to be perfect, some can be controlled, like the type of sideshow of events surrounding the sevens, others are harder to plan - good weather, a crowd, high standard of player etc. Few tournaments manage to get them all right. Sure it’s not easy and a lot of it can be down to luck, however there are a few tournaments that make sure everything that can be planned is perfect for a great day (or weekend) of sevens.
Bury St Edmunds Premier International 7s Tournament certainly is a tournament that does this well - and so I thought should be highlighted as a model tournament for a true ‘rugby first’ even. Now in its 5th year, the Bury St Edmunds 7s was initially the brainchild of Terry Sands of Samurai fame. Then DOR of Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club, now Playing Chairman, Sands approached the Club’s committee with a proposal to run a high quality professional 7s Tournament, using his experience, knowledge and contacts from his years on the 7s circuit, both with England and latterly with his Samurai International Team. Sands was adamant that, to make it work, the Club had to set extremely high standards in everything that it did, from organization to playing standards, referee standards, player welfare and team care. In addition, off-field activities needed to be of a similar standard.
The Club embraced the idea and set up a dedicated hard working organising committee of club stalwarts. The secret of the Tournament’s success and popularity is the lengths to which the Club goes, to look after the teams and their attention to detail in ensuring a smooth running and efficient Tournament.
The other secret of the event’s success is how the whole Club commits to making it a success, with an army of Club members acting as volunteer workers, not only on the day itself, but during the build-up and set down. The number of Club members involved is extraordinary and without these dedicated volunteers the Club could not put on the spectacle that the Tournament has become.
The average attendance has been around 2,500 to 3,000 the last couple of years, it has been growing rapidly though it is very weather dependent. Last year saw a scorching day of sunny sevens which pulled in the crowds.
Teams of merit who have been involved in the past are Northampton Saints, Leicester Tigers, Saracens, plus top 7s teams like Samuari, Apache, Wailers and even England have run out in the past.
Each year the Event includes celebrity rugby guests; like Courtney Lawes last year, David Strettle, James Haskell, Chris Aston, Ben Gollings and Ben Foden have all been to the event in the past.
The reason this event is so successful is because it is so well organised and offers the players an extremely competitive environment to play in as well as offering spectators a great viewing opportunity and beer tents, children’s play areas, hog roasts etc. to make sure everyone is kept happy.
I have personally played in this tournament a number of times and have never been disappointed, never had to wait for a game to start, a ref to turn up or had to have a by game due to a team pulling out.
I would very much recommend the tournament to anyone who has never been. It is growing every year and I look forward to seeing where it leads in the future!
This year’s date is 4th May, gates for spectators will open at 10.00am., £10.00 for adults, £5 for youths and under 5s go free.