Kamloops, BC – October 22, 2018: This weekend the 2018 Kamloops Sevens Tournament showcased some of the best young rugby talents from across the Province. Taking place at McArthur Island Park, 150 games were contested by over 600 male and female athletes in the U14, U16 and U19 divisions.
The event has exploded in popularity, with almost six times the number of players taking part compared with the first tournament in 2016. What is even more impressive is the scope of this event, with teams coming from remote areas as far as Smithers, Dawson Creek to Cranbrook and everywhere in between joining clubs from Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Thompson/Okanagan regions. In total, a staggering 29 clubs/regions/schools were represented at the 2018 Kamloops Sevens Tournament, making it the most diverse Rugby Sevens competition in BC.
Frosty Fall mornings gave way to beautiful blue skies and sunshine each day, the lush green fields of McArthur Island Park providing an ideal venue for the bustling tournament. Despite many teams having travelled many hundreds of kilometres to be there, the teams and parents were all full of cheer as they filled the areas surrounding the fields. As soon as the action kicked off across the five fields, the air was alive with yells of encouragement from the sidelines.
There was some fantastic rugby on display for those the gathered crowds, the Rugby Sevens format providing an ideal mix of skill, speed and strength. With matches lasting just 14 minutes each, the action was fast and furious, possession changing hands at the drop of a hat and players frequently making heart pounding sprints over the length of the field. Rugby Sevens is known for delivering high scoring matches and that was certainly the case at the Kamloops Sevens, with an average of X tries per match over the whole of the tournament.
The level of competition at this year’s tournament was impressive, with a total of 14 different clubs/regions claiming a spot on the podium when the dust had settled. The smaller teams also showed that they have what it takes to play in the big leagues, with Houston (who a had a mere 1600km round trip journey to be involved) claiming the top spot in the U19 Girls’ Open Division and teams from the Kootenays medaling in both the U19 and U16 Boys’ Divisions.
Tournament organizer Darcy Patterson was full of praise for everyone who was involved at the event. “It has been really incredible to see how this tournament has grown in just three short years. The support from the City of Kamloops and the Rugby community in the area has been amazing, we really owe so much to the dozens of people who helped make this such a success. The commitment from the players is fantastic too, given the distance that so many of them travel, and it’s great to see just how much they are all enjoying themselves. This would never be possible without the commitment of their coaches and support networks who did a lot of work to get them to the tournament.”
The Kamloops Sevens Tournament also serves an important secondary purpose, acting as a development platform for newly qualified referees to put their skills into practice. Under the close mentorship of Chris Assmus, Officials Development Officer, a handful of newly qualified referees were part of the wider team that managed the 150 games, gaining valuable experience and feedback in the process. “Tournaments like this are so important for referee development,” said Assmus at the weekend, “because they provide a perfect system of action, observation and reflection. We had a team of around 20 referees there this weekend which was brilliant. They could provide feedback to one another through a buddy system as well as getting plenty of meaningful game time, particularly significant for our newer referees or those who cover more remote areas of the Province.”
BC Rugby would like to thank all of the players, coaches, parents and match officials for their enthusiasm and contribution over the weekend. Particular thanks also go out to KLL Construction, Sue and Lionel Kabotoff, for their very generous sponsorship of the medals, local donors and business who helped support the event and to the City of Kamloops for their continued support. The 2018 Kamloops Sevens Tournament was a great success, made possible by contributions from many more people than we can name. We hope that you enjoyed the event and are already looking forward to next year….we certainly are!
Photos from the Tournament can be found here