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First Rugby Festival held in The Gambia

Mar 17, 2011, 2:30 PM

A boys’ and a girls’ team from Grade 3-6 Serrekunda, Bundung and Bakau lower basic schools met recently at Serrekunda school for a keenly fought competition, showing off their recently acquired skills in the game of Tag Rugby Football.

All teams played with enthusiasm and determination, and demonstrated a high level of skill in passing, controlling, running with the ball and tagging their opponents.

The eventual winners of the Margaret Medland Rugby 7s Trophy were Serrekunda LBS Boys’, with Bakau LBS in second place and Bundung close behind.

The Bakau LBS Girls’ team won the girls festival with Serrekunda and Bundung tying for the second place.

Gambia Rugby Football Association coordinator Johnny Gomez, in his keynote speech, thanked all the heads of schools that allowed their students to participate in this festival, and said it was a step in the right direction. Seeing those children playing the way they did shows that rugby has a future in the country, he added.

This, he continued, is the only way to sustain the game in The Gambia, and spread it throughout the country, which has prompted them to go ahead with plans to start the Lower Basic School Rugby Tag League, starting in the first week of April 2011.

Mr. Gomez also told the audience that plans are under way to start the Senior Secondary and Upper Basic School League.

Mr Gomez thanked Ms Margaret Medland for sponsoring the festival, and also for her magnanimous gestures towards the Association.

“We shall be honouring her as one of our life patrons, as soon as the Executive Board of the GRFA finalise plans on this issue”, he announced.

Following this festival, there was a senior competition of contact rugby between the Rhinos team, based in Bundung-Serrekunda, the Martin Johnson team from Tawuto village and a team of volunteers from Christian Crosslinks.

They all played hard and skilfully, but the Martin Johnson team lived up to the name of their namesake in their skill in passing the ball around and dodging their opponents and tackling hard, but showed room for improvement in the scrum and lineouts.

However they were worthy winners of the competition winning both their matches 2-1.

This competition was a first in The Gambia, and the organisers from the Gambia Rugby Football Association Executive hope that, by next year, the game will have been developed in more schools, so a larger festival can be held.

Any schools or individual interested in learning more about this exciting, fast moving game, should please contact ‘Billy’ Sarr on 7591129.     

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