The Gloucester under 17s hosted the inaugural Rugby 7s gala day on Sunday, July 2. Teams from Tamworth, Wauchope/Port Rebels, Central Coast and Hunter joined the Gloucester Cockatiels for six, 14 minute games in a round robin draw.
Each game was played in great spirit and a skill level that surprised all who had not seen these girls play before. The effort in every game was evident from the outset with great combinations being shown, skill and speed on display with some excellent rugby played and outstanding tries scored. The sportsmanship and camaraderie was evident all day and every decision by the referees was excepted without question which made for an enjoyable day’s rugby for the officials, spectators, players and coaches.
The Gloucester team showed excellent commitment for a side that only came together in the last few months. They played against more experienced teams that have played together for years. Some of the highlights for the Cockatiels was a hat-trick to Courtney Whitby, bruising runs and defence from Tayla Predebon, never say die attitude of Ellie Schuman, ‘in your face’ defence from Patricia Oleskiusk, lineout skills and speed of Shakira Porter, speed and passing of Charlotte Maslen, barnstorming runs from Mel Thompson, great commitment from Bella Yates, newbie Sara McBride showed her potential and an injured Olivia Allardice showing her support all day to the team.
The parents and spectators were the winners of the day, who watched a fantastic day of rugby. The opportunity for women of all ages in rugby union is growing with success at the last Olympics, World Sevens and many more junior and senior tournaments.
A thank you to NSW Rugby Union, all of the local sponsors, parents, coaches, official and the volunteers who helped set up and run the day. Over $1,000 was raised for the Hunter Breast Cancer Foundation through various fundraisers by the girls, raffles, merchandise and canteen. The girls wore pink socks on the day in recognition of the foundation. We hope for the gala day to be bigger and better in the future. If anyone would like to be involved next year please contact Jodie Whitby; the driving force behind the day and the Cockatiels.