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Ealing Trailfinders win new-look Bury St Edmunds Greene King IPA 7's festival as club goes solo with event



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Bury St Edmunds chairman Craig Germeney believes his club have a great platform to build upon after around 1,000 people turned out to support their inaugural independently-run Greene King IPA 7’s festival on Saturday.

Running outside of the national Super 7s Series this year, there were 10 teams competing in the end for the £4,200 prize fund with west Lond-based Ealing Trialfinders’ academy derived side taking the top Tier 1 Cup title.

They beat home player Will Affleck’s charity team and pre-tournament favourites, Oxfam Crusaders, 26-19 in a pulsating final which had seen the Ealing side trail 14-12 at the interval.

An Oxfam Crusaders player tries to shrug off the flying tackle from Samurai Renegades' player-coach and former England and Bath player Semesa Rokoduguni Picture: Mecha Morton - purchase options at: www.photos.iliffemedia.co.uk
An Oxfam Crusaders player tries to shrug off the flying tackle from Samurai Renegades' player-coach and former England and Bath player Semesa Rokoduguni Picture: Mecha Morton - purchase options at: www.photos.iliffemedia.co.uk

“It went really well,” said Germeney of the event which included the England and Wales Test matches on a giant screen and culminated in live music with two bands playing into the night.

“The weather was kind to us in terms of the spectators enjoying it. It made it tough for the players who performed really, really well in the conditions as did the referees and the ball boys.

“The gate was probably where we expected given the time of year with holidays and whatever else.

Action from Bury St Edmunds' Tier 2 encounter with the BSE Academy (yellow shirts) Picture: Mecha Morton
Action from Bury St Edmunds' Tier 2 encounter with the BSE Academy (yellow shirts) Picture: Mecha Morton

“I’m pleased with the gate and what it has done is really given us something to build on with the next one we do.

“We’ll be releasing the date before our main season starts (in September) so people can get it in their diaries but it is likely to be mid to late June.”

Organisers had to deal with two teams pulling out on the morning of the tournament, which kicked off with each team, including two Bury sides, taking part in a seeding match to determine who was in Tier 1 and Tier 2.

There were six teams in Tier 1 comprising of the five opening round winners as well as the ‘best losers’ Vipers. These were then split into two pools with Pool A featuring Ealing Trailfinders, Samurai Renegades – who had former England XVs international Semesa Rokoduguni as their player-coach – and Lambs. Joining Vipers in Pool B were Apache and Oxfam Crusaders.

Tier 2 was made up of first-round losing sides: Rascals, Bury St Edmunds, BSE Academy and RAF Honington, who all played a round robin format.

The final round of games in round two of the Tier 1 competition were effectively semi-finals with the winner progressing to the Cup final and the loser the Plate final, and were made up of the winners and runners-up of the two pools.

As Pool A winners, Ealing Trailfinders faced the runners-up of Pool B, Apache. The former booked their final spot after coming from behind to beat Apache 24-14.

In the other game, Oxfam Crusaders earned their place in the showpiece match with a 35-24 success over Samurai Renegades.

Lambs proved to be the best of the Tier 1 third-placed sides by winning the Bowl final against Vipers 43-7. The latter’s young side were awarded the Tier 2 Bowl winners’ title for their bravery in competing alongside the opening round winners.

The Tier 1 Plate was won by Apache who beat Samurai Renegades 31-26.

Tournament winners Ealing Trailfinders score another try, despite the close attentions of an Apaches defender Picture: Mecha Morton
Tournament winners Ealing Trailfinders score another try, despite the close attentions of an Apaches defender Picture: Mecha Morton

In Tier 2, BSE Academy lent an injury-hit RAF Honington some players to allow their Plate final to go ahead, with the young host side, coached by Chris Oxborrow, winning 34-12.

The main Tier 2 Cup was carried off by Rascals who triumphed over the Ben Penfold and Matt Bursey-coached Bury St Edmunds senior side 31-17.

Felow Wolfpack player Cairan Leeson, who turned out for Oxfam Crusaders, was awarded Player of the Tournament in the presentations conducted by Germeney and Bury's president-elect Barry Cole.

Bury St Edmunds XVs player Ciaran Leeson was award Player of the Tournament for his displays for Oxfam Crusaders Picture: Mecha Morton
Bury St Edmunds XVs player Ciaran Leeson was award Player of the Tournament for his displays for Oxfam Crusaders Picture: Mecha Morton
The Apaches side come together in their match with Ealing Trailfinders Picture: Mecha Morton
The Apaches side come together in their match with Ealing Trailfinders Picture: Mecha Morton
England-capped former Bath player Semesa Rokoduguni was the player-coach of the Samurai Renegades team at the Bury St Edmunds Greene King IPA 7's festival Picture: Mecha Morton
England-capped former Bath player Semesa Rokoduguni was the player-coach of the Samurai Renegades team at the Bury St Edmunds Greene King IPA 7's festival Picture: Mecha Morton
Rascals score a try against RAF Honington Picture: Mecha Morton
Rascals score a try against RAF Honington Picture: Mecha Morton
BSE Academy (yellow) win a lineout against their Bury St Edmunds counterparts Picture: Mecha Morton
BSE Academy (yellow) win a lineout against their Bury St Edmunds counterparts Picture: Mecha Morton
Action from Apaches (blue/white) versus Ealing Trailfinders (green/white) Picture: Mecha Morton
Action from Apaches (blue/white) versus Ealing Trailfinders (green/white) Picture: Mecha Morton
The Bury St Edmunds Foxes were volunteers at the tournament after the ladies' competition fell through this year. They sported their Joe Marler-sponsored shirts. Pictured here are: Annie Coulson, Danni Kinglsey, Lottie Bountford, Alex Rowles and Grace Deane Picture: Mecha Morton
The Bury St Edmunds Foxes were volunteers at the tournament after the ladies' competition fell through this year. They sported their Joe Marler-sponsored shirts. Pictured here are: Annie Coulson, Danni Kinglsey, Lottie Bountford, Alex Rowles and Grace Deane Picture: Mecha Morton
A BSE Academy player runs into space against Bury St Edmunds Picture: Mecha Morton
A BSE Academy player runs into space against Bury St Edmunds Picture: Mecha Morton
RAF Honington look to charge down the ball in their Tier 2 enounter with Rascals Picture: Mecha Morton
RAF Honington look to charge down the ball in their Tier 2 enounter with Rascals Picture: Mecha Morton
BSE Academy score a try against Bury St Edmunds Picture: Mecha Morton
BSE Academy score a try against Bury St Edmunds Picture: Mecha Morton

Germeney added his thanks to everyone who took part, the army of club volunteers including the Bury Foxes ladies team, who helped it run smoothly and those who turned out to support it.

He said introducing a ladies' competition next year, having seen a lack of available teams mean they had to scrap it this time around, would be a key focus for 2023.