Newton Stewart RFC bring their season to a close this weekend with the tenth staging of the ‘Seriously Strong’ Sevens tournament at Bladnoch Park.
A disappointing season sees the Newton 1st XV fall into the relegation zone – for the first time in the history of the club – and although the team suffered through the loss of experienced players in key positions in fairness they should have and were capable of more than their paltry six wins.
An impending re-shuffle of leagues back to a regionalized system will only be decided in June but hopefully less traveling should boost squad numbers and bring back some much needed enthusiasm to the club. On a positive note, it was great to see last years U16 youth players step up to the mark – namely Ross Drysdale, Mark McCormick, Craig Johnstone, Calum Austin and David Sommerville - and all make their debut for the 1st XV. From this bunch it was 16 year old David Sommerville, the chatty - or was it cheeky - little scrum-half, who was awarded both the players and the coaches player of the year – a great showing from the youngster and a rosy future lies ahead for him in rugby.
This weekend’s Sevens tournament has failed to attract any ‘big names’ but nonetheless with twelve teams confirmed - and a few elder statesmen on standby just in case, namely Newton Stewart Fossils- this has become a ‘must attend’ for many clubs and as word spreads the quality of teams competing for the £500 winner takes all prize never seems to diminish.
Last year’s winners Carlisle return to defend their trophy as top seeds but Dumfries, Kelso and Dundee Eagles will all be looking to relieve them of the trophy.
The full run down of teams is as follows; Annan, Carlisle, Dumfries, Dundee Eagles, Hillhead/Jordanhill, Kelso, Newton Stewart, Stewartry, Wigtownshire, Kelso Turtles, Newton Stewart Fossils, and Wigtownshire Dinosaurs.
Entertainment starts at 12-30 and semi-finals/finals around 5-30pm but with a bouncy castle for the kids and a barbecue and bar for the older kids time will fly as the flyers of rugby compete.
Once again, sponsors the Caledonian Cheese Co. and Bladnoch Distillery provide the ‘Seriously Strong’
Cheese and Bladnoch Whisky, and with the alternative entertainment this year provided by local rock bands –Touch the Snake and the Missionary Men - no doubt the well tried and tested combination will continue to ease away the aches and pains and conclude yet another rugby season for Newton Stewart Rugby Club.