This weekend will see some of rugby’s future titans take the field in the annual Peterborough Rugby Festival.
In all, nearly 250 pint-sized participants from six different clubs will converge on Nichols Oval on Saturday (July 21) from 9 a.m. until noon to take part in a friendly, but competitive round robin tournament. The event will include competitors in the U8, U10 and U12 divisions of the Ontario Rugby Union.
Peterborough alone will field two of each of the U8, U10 and U12 teams for the event to compete against clubs from Ajax, Oshawa, Markham, Lindsay and Aurora.
A number of different clubs take turns hosting these festivals, which are designed to develop the participants working knowledge of the game and foster team play as they progress through the developmental ranks of the sport. The Peterborough club itself has appeared in a two festivals having just recently competed in the Lindsay Rugby Festival this past weekend and will also participate in another one in early August in Ajax.
“This will be one of the biggest so far,” says Dave McCully, organizer of the event.
McCully not only coaches with the U6 program, but also sits as the bench boss for the Trent Excalibur men’s rugby team.
Peterborough’s mini rugby program has exploded in recent years, having come from humble beginnings with 10 to 15 kids in the U10 program only a few years ago. This year see the club boasts 30 kids in not only that program, but also the U8.
The club also has an U6 program, which due to the infancy of the program, doesn’t compete in these events. That team holds an additional 15 participants to improve the clubs already swelling numbers.
“Its unbelievable,” says McCully when looking back at where the program has grown from and on the future of the club itself with the amount of participation the sport in seeing locally.
The youth tournament is a fitting opener for the day, as the club’s senior teams will take the field in league play later that afternoon. Competitors will get the opportunity to watch some of Peterborough’s best as the Pagan’s senior women, senior men and men’s seconds will hit the pitch as soon as the youth matches have wrapped up at noon.
Although the local club hosted its official rugby day in Peterborough a few weeks ago, it will most certainly feel that way again this weekend.