More than 1,000 young rugby players put the disappointment of England’s World Cup defeat behind them yesterday (October 3) as they took part in the annual Cambridgeshire Minis Festival.
A total of 138 teams from 13 different clubs competed at six different age groups, playing 325 games at seven separate venues stretching from Peterborough in the north to Saffron Walden in the south and St Neots in the west to Ely in the east.
“We were doubly blessed,” said event organiser Simon Potter. “We had magnificent weather and the standard of rugby on display was superb.
“To have a thousand six to twelve year-olds out playing rugby in one event was wonderful. All the local clubs seem to have far more players than they did a few years ago. It seems the popularity of the sport is on the up.”
The Cambridgeshire Festival is not a competitive tournament - it is the traditional season opener in which all the cubs get together and each side plays four or five games as a way of getting used to the rules, which change slightly as each age group moves up a year.
“The mini and junior sections of rugby clubs across the county either train or play matches every Sunday morning, usually between 10am and noon and will all welcome new recruits with open arms. They all have websites which will guide anyone who’d like to take up the sport,” added Potter.
Cambridgeshire RFU, which runs the annual minis festival, has member clubs with youth sections throughout the county and just over the borders – at Cambridge, Cottenham, Ely, Huntingdon, Peterborough, Royston, St Ives, St Neots, Saffron Walden, Shelford, Wendens Ambo and Wisbech.