LIONS RUNNERS UP IN OPENING BEACH TOURNAMENT
NATO Lions kicked off the Italian Summer Beach Rugby circuit by taking the runners up spot at Amatori Formia Rugby club Beach Rugby on Sunday 05 Jul 09. 8 Teams from Lazio and Campania regions were split into 2 leagues, the winner of each going straight into Final play off. The weather was blissfully hot on the Blue Flag beach in Gaeta, not only did the lions have to contend with this but also finding a space on the already packed beach to soak up the ambiance prior to kick off by training in the crystal clear waters. A full squad of 10 players made the journey from Napoli, complete with family members for a fun actioned packed day. For those that have not played in a beach tournament the pitch is 20m x 20m, with a 2m try area at either end. Played on sandy beaches only and is fast and furies, a condensed 7’s. Each region throughout Italy hosts a series of Tournaments throughout the summer and is an ideal to spend a day at the beach and get fit at the same time. With 8 new beach rugby players in the squad and 2 new players, the Lions soon set high standards by winning there pool matches without too many problems, with fine displays by Maj Rob Blake and USN Dave Gringer. Utilising a mixture of speed, youth and brawn ( Lt Rhino Tate, FLt John King, Lt Doc Cox and LOGs Buster Brown adding plenty of weight to the side). The Final however, turned into a one sided event against Volpanciano (Roma seria B), running out 10-3 victors. Having 15 players in their squad and making complete 5 man team changes at every opportunity the NATO Lions just could not maintain the momentum from the heats, although USN Mike Corder continued his fine display of speed and attacking space by became the tournaments top try scorer. After the official presentation by Amatori Formia Rugby Club President, a few beers and some food, it was time to pack up and depart for Naples; amongst all the departing beach traffic also returning after a hard days sunbathing. The Lions once again making new friends and spreading their good name, that of NATO and service Rugby throughout Southern Italy. The Lions are now looking forward to taking part throughout the summer in the remaining Beach tournaments, culminating in hosting their own September Summer 7’s event at Carney Park. Any teams interested or requiring information contact Lt Doc Cox or Flt John King via UKNSU BFPO 8.