On Thursday 6th June 28 schools and 280 children arrived at Chess Valley RFC from the Three Rivers and Watford area to compete at the Saracens Year 5 & 6 tag festival. Hosted every year, it’s always assured to be a great advert for tag rugby in Hertfordshire.
The weather was fantastic; the grounds of Chess Valley were glowing, a perfect day for some exciting rugby and every team stepped up to play tantalising games showing off the skills they had learned in their schools. The festival was a big community effort, with the Saracens Community coaches supported by fifty young sports leaders from a number of secondary schools to gain invaluable experience in sports coaching and refereeing.
From the very first game the fast paced rugby drew everyone out of the shade and into the sun to watch. The ten gripping pool games on each of six pitches made a great all day show and there was never a dull moment for anyone. The group stages produced some fantastic rugby and everyone was anticipating the knock out stages. The four quarter finals were a great showcase of individual and team skill and unbelievable enthusiasm from coaches and parents. Two games were taken to the wire ending on a golden try and the other two won on last minute breakaways added to the build up for the semi finals.
The semi finals were littered with pitch-long breakaways and extraordinary try saving tackles, the games had everyone’s eyes wired open with the spotlight now drawing on the final between Yorke Mead and Chorleywood. Both teams had their share of outstanding players and it was set to be 7 minutes of exhilarating rugby to decide the day’s victor. There was a score every minute with the game ending 4-3 to Chorleywood, the kids and teachers were all in high spirits when they went up to collect their medals from the Saracens community team.
One parent from Chorleywood said: “I’m absolutely ecstatic, I’ve been along to this festival now for four years in a row with my other boys, I have a great time watching the kids and I think it’s absolutely essential and fantastic that they introduce kids to rugby at this young age.”
Community Development Officer, Andrew Zographos said “Throughout the year our funded programmes deliver tag rugby in schools and this gives them a chance to showcase their skills and what they’ve learnt. This festival shows just how quickly youth rugby is developing in the Three Rivers Partnership.”