The 43rd Guinness Carrick Sevens took place over the week-end of 1-3 May 2015, with an entry of 49 teams,five of which were from Scotland, two from England and one from the Irish Republic. The weather conditions were poor for the Saturday competition and although better for the first part of Sunday, the heavens opened just in time for the finals. The weather conditions, which made free-running sevens rugby difficult, did though probably contribute to some very close and competitive matches.
The Sevens week-end was over-shadowed by the death earlier in the week of a major club figure, Wallace Luney. Wallace had in earlier days played for the 1st XV, was twice Club President and played a significant role in instigating the Carrick Sevens in 1973. More than this, however, Wallace was a central figure in all aspects of club life right up until his death and the esteem in which he was held, and the affection felt for him, was amply demonstrated by the very large attendance at his funeral on 1st May which included members of teams in Carrick for the Sevens.
The Sevens got under way on Friday evening with the Kukri Men’s Under 18s competition for the Everest Cup and a new Ladies Under 18s tournament. This was played on a League basis and won by Belfast Harlequins who were unbeaten in their three matches. Runners-up were Bangor who supplied the Player of the Tournament in Gemma McCamley. The main Men’s competition was won by Edinburgh College who comprehensively defeated a game Carrick side in the final. The Player of the Tournament was Matthew McShane of Edinburgh College. Queens beat Larne by 38 points to 10 in the Plate final and Belfast Met won the bowl with a 57 points to 19 victory over Randalstown.
The Quigg Golden Open competition on Saturday was dominated by the cold, wet and generally miserable weather. Although the attendance was affected, the
conditions did make for some exciting matches and both the semi-finals in the main competition and the final were close affairs. Edinburgh College completed a great week for them when they won the Holmes Salver by defeating Lisburn Knights by 14 points to 7. The Lisburn Knights team was composed mainly of the Fijian players who have become regular participants at the Sevens in recent years and they provided the Newsletter Player of the Tournament in Misi who won the award for the second time in four years. Edinburgh College had beaten Queens in the semi-final while Lisburn Knights held on in the second half to beat NGN7s. Mrs Marlene Holmes presented the winning Captain with the Holmes Salver at the close of proceedings on Saturday.The Plate final was won by Malone who overwhelmed Ballyclare Autism Warriors and then very generously donated their winning cheque to Ballyclare for the charity in whose name they were playing. The Bowl was won by Carrick warriors, their victory sealed by a fine penalty drop-goal by Glen Picken!
The group stages on Sunday took place in what passes for sunny weather in this part of the world but the rain returned with a vengeance for the finals. The Guinness Ladies Development tournament was won by an impressive Cavan side who beat Carrick by 17 points to 5 in the final. They also supplied the winner of the Player of the Tournament award in Kathleen Dawson. The Plate was won by Queens who beat Ballynahinch by 10 points to 5 in the final while Newry took the Bowl with a 55 points to nil hammering of Belfast Harlequins. The Abbey Ladies 7s title was won by Queens with an extra time win over Cooke. The match was shrouded in some controversy with the red-carding of a Cooke player in the first half.The six women Cooke side then did extremely well to cancel out Queens’ 7-0 half-time lead in the second half to take the match into extra time. However, Queens made the extra player count in extra time and quickly scored the “golden try” to win the title. The try was, fittingly, scored by Christina Ramos who won the Player of the Tournament award. In an all English affair, Ormskirk defeated Newcastle-upon-Tyne side Novos to win the Plate by 15 points to 14. The Bowl went to City of Derry who defeated Malone by 22 points to 5.
The Manvik Qualifying tournament produced another extra time final in which Omagh defeated Bangor. After a scoreless first half, Omagh took the lead only to be over-hauled as Bangor ran in two tries. Following a deserved yellow card for Bangor, Omagh then got the equalising try late on to take the match into extra time in which they dominated possession from the start of and quickly scored the “golden try” which gave them victory and the Price Cup. Neil Brown of Omagh won the Player of the Tournament award. The Plate and the Simms Salver went to CIYMS who defeated Carrick by 35 points to 21 while the Bowl was won by PSNI who beat Larne by 21 points to 12.
Despite the weather, this was another very enjoyable Guinness Carrick Sevens. Apart from the rugby there was the usual entertainment, including a craft fair this year and, of course those magnificent warriors of the catering world- the Grim Reapers- producing their outstanding Reaper Burgers with a level of customer service second to none! At the close of the competitions, the Club President Bill Crymble paid tribute to the sponsors- Guinness, Kukri, Quigg Golden, Abbey Insurance, Manvik and Mid & East Antrim Borough Council- without whom the Sevens would not be possible.