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Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club players backed ‘to grow’ from surprise appearance in Super Sevens Series finale by coach Samir Kharbouch





After finding themselves suddenly thrust into the Nirvana Super Sevens Series finale at their home club, a contingent of current and former Bury St Edmunds Colts have been backed ‘to grow’ from the experience.

The late withdrawal of Esher Mavericks ahead of the third leg of the series, the Greene King IPA Sevens, saw Bury secretary Andy Herlihy task Bury’s under-18s coach Will Kingston with assembling a side from Thursday evening to fill the gap last Saturday.

Under the guise of the HMP Prison side Herlihy has been involved in running, HMP BaBas, Kingston took on a player-coach role to add some experience to a young side of mainly Bury-drawn players who also play in his Oxfam Nextlot side.

The HMP BaBas team and coaches that stepped into the Super Sevens Series finale as a guest replacement team Picture: Mark Westley
The HMP BaBas team and coaches that stepped into the Super Sevens Series finale as a guest replacement team Picture: Mark Westley

Bury first-team player Samir Kharbouch, who runs the colts team with Kingston, was also drafted in to coach from the sidelines.

Receiving the local backing, in the first Greene King IPA Sevens to not feature local sides in an open event after the Super Sevens Series had anticipated needing an extra pitch, their tournament saw four defeats from four games.

But having gone up against international-capped players, with their group games seeing them go up against series winners British Army (36-0) and Vaquita Fiji Warriors (36-5), Kharbouch feels it can only benefit the predominantly young side.

Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club, Southgate Green, Bury St EdmundsRugby - Bury hosting the Super Sevens Series finale in the Greene King IPA Sevens. Vaquita Fiji Warriors BlueHMP BaBas Red Picture by Mark Westley
Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club, Southgate Green, Bury St EdmundsRugby - Bury hosting the Super Sevens Series finale in the Greene King IPA Sevens. Vaquita Fiji Warriors BlueHMP BaBas Red Picture by Mark Westley

"I think it is a good experience, there is nothing bad about it,” he said, having confirmed he will lead the Colts side for a third season.

"I think the boys learnt loads and they performed well. They got better and better.

"Yes, the results may not have been great but for the situation we were in I think they did a really good job.

"I was really pleased with them. I said to them that the only mistakes they were making were ones because they have not played enough sevens.

The HMP BaBas in action against Vaquita Fiji Warriors (light blue) Picture: Mark Westley
The HMP BaBas in action against Vaquita Fiji Warriors (light blue) Picture: Mark Westley

"They can definitely grow from it, that's for sure."

The side, which contained Colts captain Josh Grigg-Pettit and Jack Rawlings, who will both be in the under-18s in the upcoming season, as well as Billy Reid, who is stepping up into the senior set-up, came within a converted try of winning their final match. Against Wooden Spoon Marauders in the Bowl round robin competition they lost out 31-26.

Herlihy, whose son Stephen works for the prison service and plays between Bury’s second and third teams, said: “They did not disgrace themselves and the amount of experience and just being exposed to that level, they will benefit from that massively."

Although he admitted not having the open competitions running alongside it had hit the crowd numbers, he felt it was another successful sevens event at the Haberden.

“As far as the Super Sevens are concerned, they've had a very, very successful day,” he said.

"The great thing about Bury St Edmunds is we can put on a show for them, we can get a crowd down here and it makes it so much more of an event for them.”