North Walsham RFC prepare for Sevens Festival

After several years of running an elite end of season sevens competition North Walsham decided to change the format to combat the increasing financial demands of running such an event.

Last season saw the birth of a new style event with the ages of players restricted as near as possible to 25, and despite adverse weather and the attraction of the Queen's Jubilee celebrations the event was deemed a success particularly by the participants.

This Sunday's offering forms part of the club's 50th anniversary celebrations and event coordinator Pat Carter and his team have tried to extend the appeal of the event by including a separate competition for teams of women and hope that it will be just the first of a series of such competitions.

In the main competition last years winners, the Sydney Knights, are returning to defend the Jill Hambling Cup as are the runners up in 2012, the Charolais Bulls a team largely made of local farmers, many of whom will be familiar faces at Scottow.

Also returning are Narford Barbarians, the intriguingly named Built off Site Thundercats, Easton College and Stowmarket and of course at least one team from the host club.

The men's competition starts at 11am and at 1pm the women will take centre stage with teams from Woodbridge, Wymondham, Beccles and Lakenham Hewitt and others competing for the George Campbell Shield.

Women's rugby is one of the most rapidly expanding areas of the game and it is intended that it should become a feature of this annual event.

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Carter has expressed his appreciation of the work of Walsham member Katie Allcock for doing the ground work that has brought this initiative to fruition and also to the RAF Careers Organisation for their continuing sponsorship, reflecting the long and close relationship North Walsham has with the RAF, previously at Coltishall, and now at Marham where the Vikings captain Andy Tibbatts is currently serving.

In tandem with the rugby there is also the attraction of a Beer Festival with 18 different brews on offer many from local micro breweries but some from as faraway as Cornwall and Oxfordshire.