Somerset Spartan Rugby entered four teams into the Beach 5s Rugby Competition held at Coolangatta on Sunday 15 November. The competition was a first for our Spartans, contingent of three boys’ teams, the Under 12s, Under 16s and Under 18s and a solitary girls' team, the Under 15s.

You could not have asked for a more picture-perfect day on the Gold Coast to hold such a competition. All four teams acquitted themselves amazingly well, given it was their first time playing this format. The 13-minute game is gruelling to say the least. The high intensity and the soft sand create an energy sapping environment and is also a great ‘leveller’ as it is hard to accelerate and change direction quickly.

The U12 boys played three matches in the morning and were highly competitive in each. In fact, they played eventual champions, All Saints Anglican School in the very first match and after leading 5 to 2, they were overtaken at the backend of the match to lose by two tries.

The U16 boys faced stiff opposition all day but perhaps most confronting was their very first match against a red-hot and very large team named, the Kulture Freestylerz. Their supreme size and ball movement was too much for our very first match. However, the boys warmed to the task quickly and were unlucky to lose their second match to Bond Pirates U16 by a solitary, Bond scoring a try in the final play of the match. The U16 boys then went on to win their final match of the day.

The U18 boys team played with skill and precision easily accounting for the first two teams they played. In the final pool round they came up against a formidable foe in the Helensvale U18 team. The boys knew this team well as it comprised of many players from the U17 Helensvale Hogs team that won the Under 17 Metro Cup this year by defeating teams at will by 50 points or more in most of their matches. The boys hung tight in the first half trailing by 1 try at the half. However, Helensvale poured on the pressure in the second half to runaway with the game. The boys, however, had finished in the top 2 and advanced to the final in the afternoon. Their opponents, none other than the Helensvale team-a tough task! The final was a much tighter affair with teams trading tries back and forth with Helensvale always holding a 1 try buffer right until the last 2 minutes where they ran in two tries to give them some breathing space. The Spartans going down 9 to 6. A superb effort!

The surprise package of the day went to our U15 girls’ team. They only had seven players total for a five-player game. Yet they demonstrated excellent fitness, superb courage, and good skill to be highly competitive in a very challenging grade full of girls who regularly play Rugby Union and touch. Lucy Millar was strong defensively, Alex Halloran excellent in attack whilst our twin speedsters of Jess Nguyen and Jess Velozza lethal with space in front of them. Sienna Briggs showed courage and tenacity against many opponents twice her size whilst both Brianna Kurtz and Oria Mougrabi showed little regard for their bodies in both attack and defence often running direct or getting their bodies in front of their opponents to make some telling tackles.

A great day was had by all and my thanks to all the players, parents and staff that made this day an incredibly enjoyable experience.

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