Words: Max Lueck, Tournament Directo
The very first Hartpury Sevens in May 2014: Teams are finally arriving after three months of relentless work
The older you get, the quicker time passes by, they say. That’s so true and I still can’t believe that Hartpury Sevens goes into its fifth year already this week.
I am just remembering the early years when a couple of unexperienced 7s event organisers came together to set up a tournament in just three months! In comparison, nowadays we plan at least one year ahead. But, despite being a bit naive and under enormous time pressure we somehow managed to put on a good show.
12 men’s, four women’s teams, a few referees and a group of supporters came together in 2014 to mark the start of a brand-new event in a busy UK 7s-circuit. It was all a bit smaller these days, with hardly any budget available, but it was the start of a wonderful tournament, which always aims to be the “perfect” competition for the players.
Hartpury Sevens 2014: Cup winners Zoti guns on the attack
Rather than putting the money and efforts towards the party and big entertainment, Hartpury Sevens has always been an event where players and teams are the main focus. By providing outstanding playing facilities, referees, sports therapists, smooth schedules, prize money and trophies all in return for a reasonable low entry fee, we are hoping to offer the best possible environment to play 7s.
We are delighted that the tournament has developed significantly over the years and with the invaluable support from Hartpury College, particularly sports academy manager Alan Powderhill, it wouldn’t be possible to get such an event up and running each year.
Since 2016, we are honoured to be a host of the Secure Trading 24/Sevens Series. A concept, which we have followed closely from the beginning and in my opinion something that’s needed to further push the Olympic sport of 7s. This game deserves to become a proper grassroots sport, rather than just an elitist circle, therefore a nationwide series is the way forward.
Let’s be honest, the Series is still in its early days, and it will take a few more years to proper take off. But if we and the other hard-working tournament organiser stick together, this is, without a doubt, one for the future.
This Saturday, we are celebrating the fifth anniversary of Hartpury Sevens. We will welcome 24 teams from four nations and hundreds of visitors, the forecast predicts warm and sunny weather. It’s fair to say that the excitement is building.
Here is to the next five years…