The UK season got underway on the 18th and 19th of May at Rugby Polocrosse Club with the UKPA’s early season tournament and even the weather decided to behave for it as the rain stayed away all weekend and the sun shone on the Sunday of the competition. It was a good weekend for Cotswold as they won the opening A grade and also Vale Impi who picked up wins in the B grade, the E grade and the Primary Juniors. Kelyn (a combined Celyn and Kent section) ended up second in the A grade but no one could come close to the winning Cotswold section of Charlotte Pykett, Rachael Gayler and Vicki Metcalfe, who made the whole debate about ladies playing against men in the A grade look slightly irrelevant by beating all the men in the division.
Vale Impi carried on from where they left off last season, winning the B grade with a team that featured the UK’s coach Simon Shearing, former UK Ladies captain Kerry Bean and the undoubted young talent of players such as Matt Smith and Tom Bowden-Eyre. They won their matches reasonably comfortably, though were pushed by the combined Arden, Celyn and Kent side than finished second and also their own second Vale Impi B grade team that finished third.
In the C grade Pennine overcame Rugby in a hard fought final while in the D grade Kent Target combined with Celyn (Kentlyn) to win, pushing the pure Kent Target section into second place.
In the E grade Vale Impi managed a one-two of sorts, as they combined with Celyn to win the grade and saw their other Vale Impi team finished second, in what could be an early indicator that they might dominate this grade again this year, as they have done for the last couple of years. This is due to the number of new players they bring into the sport each season and so allowing them to continually field strong teams at a beginner level. One of the Vale Impi players, Sean Hardy, picked up best newcomer for his efforts.
In the Primary Juniors the home club of Rugby combined with Vale Impi to clinch victory, after overcoming Ledbury Lions in the final by a narrow margin. Ledbury Tigers finished third and then the combined Rugby and Welsh Dragons section finished fourth.
|Santi – Simon Amor (Celyn)
|Mel – Jack Smith (Ledbury) (owned by Jan Whitehead)