West Wittering beach is the perfect pitch for college rugby gang

The beach rugby teams at West Wittering  Picture by Emily Deavall

The beach rugby teams at West Wittering Picture by Emily Deavall

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West Wittering beach was the venue for the annual under-19 beach rugby tournament - the only one of its kind in the UK - which involved colleges coming together to play tightly-contested matches.

Eighteen teams included local past winners Chichester College and others from Birmingham and parts of London. A mixed format allowed both male and female students to play alongside each other in a friendly yet competitive environment.

The event has continued to grow year upon year, with activities like these becoming increasingly important in ensuring that young people’s interest and involvement in sport is sustained, especially considering that England will be hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2015.

It started as a windy, overcast day but soon the sun came out. The enthusiastic mood of the players remained unabated and everyone had the opportunity to build upon their teamwork and communication skills.

The players learnt that when it went quiet the standard of rugby usually went down - stressing the importance of interaction between individuals.

In terms of the tactical aspects of the game you needed good ball handling skills, having the agility to create an overlap and the awareness to infiltrate the spaces on the field. A balance needed to be found between attack and defence for a team to succeed.

In the concluding knockout round of the day, the plate final was fought between Chichester High School and South Downs College, with South Downs victorious.

Meanwhile in an exciting cup final, Worthing A played last year’s champions Birmingham Met A in a fiercely-contested fixture. Despite Birmingham’s clinical display, Worthing looked threatening from the outset, running straight attacking lines and exploiting the quick ball from the turnover. It was a close contest but Worthing came out on top, enabling them to lift the trophy at the end of a fast-paced game.

Credit must go to the coaches, RFU volunteers and organisers for putting on a fantastic and entertaining event, in addition to the players for showing such spirit, maturity and for displaying an admirable attitude.

Thanks also go out to all who work at the West Witterings beach estate, Chichester District Council, Chichester College, the RFU and sponsors.

EMILY DEAVALL