Try Tag Rugby held their 2nd annual Provincial Challenge tournament on Saturday, 13th September at Twyford Avenue Sports Ground in Acton, with 12 teams of London based players representing provinces/states/regions from their homelands of Australia (New South Wales & Queensland), England (North & South), Ireland, (Connaught, Leinster, Munster & Ulster) and New Zealand (North Island & South Island) to see who would be crowned the Provincial champions.
The Kiwi teams started strongly with the South Island going through the pool stages undefeated with a three from three record and the North Island winning two and losing one, with their only loss coming at the hands of their fellow Kiwi counterparts, South Island 6-1.
The South Island qualified for the Cup division semi-final, which featured the top four teams out of the 12, after the pool stages. They were due to meet Aussie outfit, New South Wales.
In a dominant display, the South Island defeated New South Wales 6-2 with Richie Cawthorn stamping his authority on the match with numerous big plays to help them qualify for the Cup final.
South Island was then scheduled to meet hometown team, South England in the final. In a nail biter that went down to the last play of the match, South England managed to seal victory 6-4 to hold up the Provincial Challenge trophy for the first time.
New Zealand’s last hope to hold up some silverware was through the North Island who qualified for the Plate semi final, which featured teams that finished 5th to 8th out of the 12 teams, after the pool stages.
The North Island met Irish outfit, Connaught in the semi final and were too classy, running away with an 18-3 win. Gemma Wynne-Lewis was sensational for the North Island with a number of tries to her name.
North Island was then due to meet North England in the Plate final. The North Island once again showed their brilliance by winning the Plate final with a dominant 12-2 score line. Donna Rowland of the North Island was awarded player of the match.
After the Provincial Challenge, the 2014 London Origin Tag Rugby series took place at the same venue with some of London’s best Tag Rugby players on display. The eligibility guidelines were any nationality could take part and your first permanent London address determined where your allegiances lied. If your first permanent address was north of the Thames, you qualified for North London and if it was south of the Thames, you qualified for South London.
The mixed social grade was the first match to kick off and North London went to an early lead in the series by winning the first rubber, 17-12.
South London had to win the mixed A grade tie by six or more points to be declared this year’s winner so they had a big mountain to climb before they could claim the silverware which they last held up in 2011.
South London went to the half time break up by three points but they knew this wasn’t enough to secure victory. With a brilliant 2nd half performance, the South Londoners extended their lead and finished with an 18-9 win to be declared the 2014 London Origin Tag Rugby series champions.
New Zealander, Tyler Whatuira was awarded the 2014 London Origin mixed A grade, “player of the match” award.
In other news, Try Tag Rugby recently turned five and to celebrate held a Thames Boat party on Friday, 5th September. There was a shade over 200 members and guests of the Tag Rugby community who came out in force to celebrate the occasion. After the four hour Thames Boat party, most party goers kicked on to Temple Walkabout until the early hours of the morning. A good time was had by all and there were plenty of sore heads the following morning.
If you want to join in on all the Tag Rugby action in the capital, there is still space to join some of the Autumn leagues which are currently taking place at the following venues:
Monday: Acton, Battersea Park, Borough, Finsbury Park, Tooting Bec
Tuesday: Olympic Park, Shoreditch Park
Wednesday: Finsbury Park, Rotherhithe, Shoreditch Park, White City
Thursday: Barnes, Highbury
Saturday: Clapham Common
If you join a league late, your fee will be pro-rata’ed accordingly. All leagues can only cater for a handful of individuals to bolster established teams except for the Finsbury Park (Wed) and Clapham Common leagues which can cater for teams, part-teams and individuals as they both commence in two weeks’ time.
Photos by Sally Mills