For the last time this 7s season, both, the women’s and men’s teams travelled together to a tournament. The beautiful and rugby-mad town of Bath was the destination for the West Country 7s one of many 7s-events in the South-West. The tournament has been around for a long while and recently moved from Keynsham to Lambridge the HQ for the Bath Ladies RFC and located close to the city centre.
The order of the day for the Bamboos Women’s was to use the tournament to prepare for the huge challenge, the RFU 24/Sevens Series regional finals on the 15th July in Exeter. For the men’s it was all about continuing the strong performance shown in Frome a fortnight ago in order to finish the season successfully.
Following the tournament, it’s fair to say that both teams accomplished their mission. The women’s started off their campaign last Saturday with a convincing 27:12 win over Reading’s top ladies team Abbey Nuns.
In their second match, our ladies went head to head with Premiership side Wasps. It was clear, that this would be a tough encounter, as the Wasps are one of the finest rugby teams in the UK. Although our team kept up well with the high tempo and managed to score twice, the London-based club won the game 28:12.
However, one of the reasons for the women’s success this season is the ability to respond quickly from setbacks. And so the team created an impressive 10-try performance against hosts Bath Ladies in the final pool match. During the record 58-0 win, the women’s showed their true quality with entertaining running rugby and impressive offloads.
Two out of three wins resulted in a semi-final against the Tigers from Cheltenham, a team with many years of experience under the belt. This was the second time the Bamboos played the Tigers after they met in the Shield final of the Hartpury Sevens. Back then, the Tigers won the battle fair and square. However, it turned out that this time, it would be a lot closer contest and the Bamboos even took an early 12:0 lead. But towards the end of the match, Cheltenham showed their class and secured a 36:22 win.
Despite the semi-final loss, our women’s still had a chance to get away with some silverware as they played for the Shield trophy against the other semi-final loser – which turned out to be Abbey Nuns again. At the end of a long and bruising tournament day, our girls produced another class performance to secure a well-deserved trophy.
The men’s team started their day with an encounter against the Karuta Turtles, a strong and experienced team from Taunton. Although the Bamboos got into the match nicely with a few tries at the beginning, a yellow card in the second half made the life enormously difficult and eventually the Turtles got away with a close 17:19 win.
Like the women’s team, the men’s also got better and better throughout the day as they shown a strong and convincing performance in the second match against the Richmond Renegades which was won 38:17.
One of the trickiest challenges of the day was yet to come though as the men in green faced the famous RAF Spitfires, a top-class 7s team with many tournaments wins in the past. But once more, a dedicated and focused performance lead to the second win of the day.
With two out of three wins, the Bamboos came across the Turtles for the second time. And again, the match turned out to be a real nail-biter as it took a last minute try by or boys to get a 24:22 win secured and eventually qualify for the Cup final. In the final, our boys went head-to-head with last year’s winners and currently one of the most successful sides, Shredded Ducks.
It was clear, that beating the Ducks at the end of the day would be an enormous task and although the Bamboos kept up well with the high tempo, the Ducks just had a little bit more in the tank to secure the Cup. One of the outstanding players on the day, fly-half Chris Laidler was rewarded with the "Man of the Tournament" award at the end of the day.
However, despite the defeat in the final, this was a remarkable performance by both teams which set the standard for upcoming challenges.
A special thanks go out to our great sponsor The Stable for the lovely catering afterwards as well as Gulliver’s Truck Hire for the fantastic logistics support.
West Country 7s | Results
POOL | 7 Bamboos RFC 27:12 Reading Abbey Nuns
POOL | 7 Bamboos RFC 12:28 Wasps FC
POOL | 7 Bamboos RFC 58:0 Bath Ladies
CUP SF | 7 Bamboos RFC 22:36 Tigers 7s
Shield Final | 7 Bamboos RFC 26:10 Reading Abbey Nuns
TEAM: Tanya Bird, Lucy Juffkins, Sophie Cleverly, Alice Rooke, Sue Neumann, Kim Mooreland, Aimee Kelly, Natalie Kwatia, Amy Meanchin, Stacey Godfrey
POOL | 7 Bamboos RFC 17:19 Karuta Turtles
POOL | 7 Bamboos RFC 38:17 Richmond Renegades
POOL | 7 Bamboos RFC 14:10 RAF Spitfires
CUP SF | 7 Bamboos RFC 24:22 Karuta Turtles
Cup Final | 7 Bamboos RFC 17:36 Shredded Ducks
TEAM: Alex Wolfe, Josh Holt, Alex Hughes, Chris Laidler, Joe Page, Pate Laulau, Will Hewer, Jamie Williams, Bradley Harris, Lewis Pratten, Rory Davies, Alex Onyeahsi