There are very few certainties in life, but more often than not it can be guaranteed that there will at some point be bad and changeable weather in Manchester on Super League Grand Final day. This year was no exception.
A record 21 teams took to the field in our Autumn Tournament on Saturday 14th October at Trafford MV RFCC, with those taking to the field experiencing the Manchester weather at its most changeable. From bright warm sunshine to hailstone and heavy rain, those participating did not let this dampen the spirit of the day, with some fantastic Tag Rugby on display.
The morning saw teams split into pools, before being ranked and progressing into either the Cup, Plate or Bowl in the afternoon. 2022 runners up, Velcrocity TRC, emphatically topped pool 1 and took the number 1 ranking heading into the second phase of the tournament, finishing above pool 2 victors AFC Richmond by a single try. They were joined in the Cup by Mambo No.5, Lebanon Storm, Manchester Maulers, Tag Poles, Velcro Chasers, and Flash Gordon and the Thunderbuddies.
Having already faced off in the pool stage, there was a rematch in the first Quarter Final in the Cup between Velcrocity & Manchester Maulers. Velcrocity bettering their 4-1 victory in the morning with a 4-0 win in the afternoon. There was also a rematch for Mambo No.5 and Lebanon Storm. Having drawn 6-6 in the pool stage, Lebanon storm came out victorious in the knockout fixture. They were joined in the semi-finals by AFC Richmond and Flash Gordon and the Thunderbuddies after they overcame Velcro Chasers and Tag Poles respectively. Velcrocity and AFC Richmond demonstrated why they finished the morning ranked 1 & 2 with convincing semi-final victories to progress to the final. A single try in the final proved enough to provide a winner, with Velcrocity ultimately coming out 1-0 winners and becoming Cup champions.
The Plate saw Coventry Allstars, No Woman No Tease, Swagtag, Mustn’t Tag Sally put in convincing performances against Multiverse of M’s, SAYA Edi, Les SOMF and One Kick Wonders to progress to the Semi Finals. The geographical proximity of the tournament did not provide sufficient advantage for No Woman No Tease or Mustn’t Tag Sally, with Coventry Allstars and Swagtag progressing to the Final. Coventry eventually running out 6-3 victors in the final.
Super Furry Tagimals, No Tag No Try, Scrum & Bass, Wigan Tag Machines, and Guten Tagfest contested the Bowl, which was played with a pool format and top of the group becoming champions. Ultimately, No Tag No Try emerged as the winners, marking the initial success of Wigan players on that day. This winning spirit carried over to Old Trafford, where they enthusiastically supported the Wigan Warriors, who went on to secure victory in the Super League Grand Final.
Alongside the opportunity to be victorious on the pitch, the fancy dress theme provided players with the chance to showcase their creativity. With Mimes, M&M’s, and Mr Incredible being just some of the fantastic efforts on show, Velcro Chasers were the ones announced as winners with their presentation of Mario Bros characters.
Strong refereeing performances during the day contributed to a great day of Tag. Matt Blades, Matt Walker and Leon Nightingale having the opportunity to referee on the livestream during the day. Zoe Cockburn, Connor Devonish and Andy Taylor demonstrating why they are tournament regulars, alongside Matthew Fenton & Neil Murray who demonstrated great ability in what was their tournament debut. Matthew Fenton subsequently was selected as referee of the day.
A big thanks to Sam from Shot’s On for coming to livestream the action from Pitch One, and take action shots over the course of the day.
Livestream action can be replayed HERE
Photos can be viewed HERE
There was not just cause for congratulations for the Tag Rugby that was on show. Those who were in attendance may have wondered about the absence of one familiar face. A huge congratulations to Bobby, and his partner Stacey, and the birth of Amelia on the morning of the tournament.
Cup Champions: Velcrocity TRC
Cup Player of the Tournament: Jake Dunley
Plate Champions: Coventry All Stars
Plate Player of the Tournament: Paul Douglas
Bowl Champions: No Tag No Try
Bowl Player of the Tournament: Kirsten Riley
Referee of the Tournament: Matthew Fenton
Best Dressed: Velcro Chasers