February 28th turned into a great day for youth rugby in Texas. Over 250 young athletes from 1st to 8th grades played matches at the Alden Bridge Sports Park in The Woodlands in the first ever Youth Tournament sponsored by Woodlands Rugby. The Plano Rugby Club traveled through snow & ice to play along with sides from Houston: Katy Barbarians, Lanier Middle School, & the Regis School, and representing the Heart of Texas Rugby Club from Killeen was Kazie Lynne Cheek who played with the Lanier side. Saturday was also the inaugural meeting of the grade 1&2’s Katy Barbarians and Woodlands Wombats. They each won a round in the touch rugby exhibition matches. Woodlands Youth Rugby Club is one of the largest rugby clubs in Texas. Our ongoing goal is to grow the game of rugby at all levels, from youth to high school.
Much thanks to:
· The Texas Rugby Referee Society answered the call: Travis Bartniski, Paul Purcell, Maurice Mullaly, and Brian Kee made a great difference for the new and experienced players.
· The field-side medical assistance from Richard Davis, ATC and Dr. Joe Edralin were busy through the day and extremely appreciated.
· Woodlands grade 7&8 side showed up early to set up the goal post and pitches for the rest of the day. Thanks to Coach Mitch & Coach Bryan for getting the lads out of bed early. And the Woodlands Mens and Lonestar Mens clubs for letting us borrow the goal post, pads, and pylons.
· The parents of the Woodlands Youth Rugby Club for tents, tables, & coolers of ice. Christa Morgan for getting our fields reserved. The team managers Terri Blang, Diane King, and Julie Everett had the players uniforms and water ready. And a super shout out to the concessionaires: Mike Griggs (and his Springbok buddy), Justin King, Patrick Masterson, Lance McDermott and the servers who cooked and served lunch for the duration of the day.
· Lastly – to the all the coaches: we are setting the stage for growing rugby as a great option for kids to play in Texas. We need more teams to play and hopefully there are a few more clubs joining us for the matches next year.