Navy Beach Rugby Festival in Weymouth 'Surfs Up' a Feast of Spectacular Sport
Weymouth Beach, renowned for its pristine sands and blue waters, was transformed into a fierce battleground of athleticism and ice cream-filled camaraderie as the Royal Navy Beach Rugby tournament took centre stage. Organized with precision by Ady Cherrington and ably assisted by Dave Wakefield and Jen Wells (HMS Temeraire), the event unfolded on a sunny Wednesday, drawing local sports enthusiasts and casual beachgoers alike to witness a spectacle of sand, skill, and spirit. The occasional beach dweller was politely moved on with good humour as they had set up camp on the actual pitch. When the risk to their health was explained they cheerfully relocated.
The women's division was played in good spirit and open to all to promote grassroots rugby. Scheduled as a touch rugby tournament the going was still tough in the deep sand. The event no small amount of skill as interspersed amongst the newcomers was a smattering of Twickenham veterans who had to the event. After a day filled with smart interplay, sharp lines and canny offloads, HMS Seahawk emerged triumphant, beating HMS Sultan, to be crowned champions of the women's tournament. Their peerless teamwork and strategic gameplay secured their victory in a good-spirited set of matches.
In the men's division, the tournament was equally competitive, with 9 squads battling fiercely for dominance on the sandy pitch. Ultimately, it was CTCRM who emerged as the champions for the second year in succession beating 45 Cdo in an all-Marine final, with their grim determination and aggression on display throughout every match in the lead-up. CTCRM made it to the final from the smaller pool beating Lightening Force A, and HMS Drake but drawing with fellow finalists 45 Cdo. In the adjacent pool Lightening Force B easily topped theirs with routine wins over HMS Sultan, HMS Heron, HMS RICHMOND, and HMS Raleigh. In the semi-finals 45 Cdo squeaked past Lightening B while CTCRM eased past Raleigh.
As the sun began its descent, the spotlight shifted to the trophy presentation ceremony. Callum Jones, representing Rolls Royce, had the honour of presenting the medals to the finalists. The applause echoed as the teams raised their hard-earned trophies high.
Adding a touch of distinction to the event, Navy Rugby Vice Chair Captain Sarah Oakley RN graced the occasion with her presence. Her summation resonated with the participants, underscoring the importance of dedication, teamwork, and the pursuit of excellence. In her address she thanked the Royal Navy referees, Ady and his team and of course the players. Her role in presenting the trophies added a sense of pride.
The Royal Navy Beach Rugby tournament on Weymouth Beach was not just a display of athleticism but a celebration of unity, determination, and the indomitable spirit of sports. As the sun set on the beach, it marked not just the end of a tournament, but also more importantly time for fish and chips and the penny arcade!
Words by J Campbell-Baldwin; Images by Callum Sanders.