Vectis Under-nines’ Rory Taylor with the ball. Picture by Peter Boam.
MORE than 1,500 youngsters from 120 visiting rugby clubs celebrated the end of the season by taking part in this year’s Vectis Minis’ Rugby Festival.
Hosted by the Island’s Vectis Rugby Club, the festival — the biggest of its kind in the south — made full use of the expanse of Seaclose Park and Medina College’s playing fields on Sunday.
Enjoyed by an enthusiastic 4,000-strong crowd, the festival was a hive of activity. It featured contests for under-sevens up to under-12 level, which began with round-robin tournaments and concluded with knock-out rounds and a final.
Vectis Rugby Club, which has traditionally done well in the festival, entered 80 boys to make up seven competing teams.
It was a successful festival for the Islanders, with the under-eights winning their section, beating Cobham. The stars were eight-year-olds Thomas Cole, Ruben Cobb, Cameron Blamey and Edward White.
The under-nines and the under-12 teams progressed to the semi-finals.
The festival has run for eight of the past nine years, with the 2012 event cancelled due to extreme weather.
Despite the heavy rain at times, the quality of the rugby was consistently high.
Festival co-organiser Anthony Donohue, an under-12 coach with Vectis Rugby Club, said: "The day was fantastic and the boys thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
"The festival just gets bigger each year. We had teams from as far afield as Taunton, and London Scottish brought a team to the Island, which shows just how good a name the festival has.
"The event works well as a focal point on the youth rugby calendar as a celebration of the end of the season for many clubs."