Rugby Rocks 7s - Edinburgh, Boroughmuir RFC on Saturday 22nd June 2013 and Penguin Scottish Dinner - Watsonians FC, Myreside, Edinburgh on Friday 21st June
Having failed to secure silverware in London a few weeks earlier, the assembled Penguins squad for the Edinburgh Rugby Rocks weekend were hoping to put a cherry on top of what has been a quite sensational year for the club. Sadly, however we came up short in the main tournament but securing the Plate Final was just rewards for a squad that was seemingly only a match away from being something special.
Some late changes to the original squad, due to the IRB World Cup 7’s in Moscow, created opportunity for some 7’s development players to pull on the Penguins Jersey and join what was a typically eclectic Penguins squad with 1 Irish, 5 English and 6 Scots (The abundance of Scots and yet lack of Welsh representation, was not premeditated but somehow made up for the Lions squad that were concurrently playing the first test down under!) The squad assembled at Watsonian FC’s ground, Myreside on a very sunny afternoon on Thursday 20th June and had a Penguins “meet, greet and shaping session” before a squad dinner in Edinburgh later in the evening.
It was an early start following the previous evening's inaugural Scottish Penguins Reunion Dinner, with our first match of 4 pool games against the Scottish Samurai’s at 1000hrs. Despite some abrasive running from Callum Wilson and some sterling defensive work from Jack Watson, the Samurai’s came out narrowly on top after a last minute try to win the first pool match 21-19. This meant we had to win the remaining 3 pool matches which included the tournament favourites and former champions the British Army. The Penguins went on to win the next 2 pool matches against the “Zoo mighty Peth” and “Wooden Spoon” quite comfortably thanks to the metronomic kick offs from James Love and strong individual performances from Nyle Godsmark and centre Sam Randle. Unfortunately, we lost our skipper Steve Hamilton in the third pool match which was not ideal with potentially 3 matches remaining. Fortunately we had plenty of power upfront to make up for the rangy Hamilton with the likes of Hugh Hogan (St Mary’s) and Tom Hart (Watsonians).
The Final Pool match against the British Army was always going to be a tough encounter and so it proved. As seems to be the way these days, the team was principally made up of Fijians and not even the threat of inclement weather could dampen their spirits. Despite the BA’s renowned physical presence at the break down, our Penguins more than fronted up and on more than one occasion the Penguin’s player of the tournament, Callum Wilson took route one straight over the top of one BA player before swatting off another and dotting down under the posts. Despite some fine running from Liam Steele (son of Scotland, British Lions and former Penguin, Billy Steele) the BA were victorious by 5 tries to 3 and thus we were relegated to fight out for the Shield.
Watsonians’ Rory Steele showed some real individual flair in the shield semi final against the Esher Golden Lions to help a rampaging Penguins romp to victory and secure their place in the Plate Final. We went on to beat Unite against cancer in the Plate Final and with 4 wins from 6 matches, the Plate was just rewards for a hardworking and talented group of Penguins.
Thanks to our Coaches Connan Sharman, John Kerr and Ben Fisher and player Liaison, John Sinclair. Also, thanks to our Physio team of Emily and Amy for their support over the 3 days.
Back Row: Craig Brown (CEO, Penguins), Conan Sharman (Coach - Watsonians, Edinburgh and Scotland 7’s), John Kerr (Asst Coach - Watsonians, Edinburgh and Scotland 7’s) , Ben Fisher (Asst Coach - Boroughmuir / Scotland Club XV), Nyle Godsmark (Edinburgh Accies, Scotland 7’s Development squad), Liam Steele (Stewarts Melville FP, Scotland 7’s Development squad), Chris Scott (Watsonians, Scotland 7’s Development squad),, Callum Wilson (Loughborough, England Students), David Townsend (Senior Vice President Penguins), Hugh Hogan (St Mary’s, Leinster A), Iain W Sinclair (Manager - Watsonians, Edinburgh, Scotland A), John Sinclair (Player Liaison - (Past President - Glasgow High/Kelvinside), Vincent Bramhall (Secretary Penguins)
Front Row: James Love (London Scottish), Tom Hart (Watsonians, Scotland 7’s Development squad), Tahir El Mahdi (Leicester Tigers), Steve Hamilton (Captain – Rotherham and England Counties), Sam Randle – (Brunel University), Rory Steele (Watsonians, Scotland 7’s Development squad)Jack Watson (Watsonians, Scotland 7’s Development squad)
Absent: Physios – Emily Goodlad and Amy Chalmers
Back row: Conan Sharman, Iain Sinclair, Alan GL Wright, Callum Wilson, Rory Steele, Liam Steele, Hugh Hogan, Tahir ElMahdi, Chris Scott, Nyle Godsmark, Craig Brown
Front row: Jack Watson, Sam Randle, Steve Hamilton (with the plate trophy), Tom Hart, James Love, John Sinclair