Another incredible weekend for the Colonsay Rugby Festival!
The teams arrived on Friday night streaming and steamin’ off the ferry carrying buckets of beer, tent poles and safari costumes ready for a weekend of excitement and fantastic rugby. Inverleith lived up to their reputation as the ‘most sober’ team of the tournament right from the start, dodging cars as they rolled down the pier. All players were loaded into the back of buses, cars and trailers and carted up to the festival site. With tents pitched in the glorious sunset, the welcome party began. Eventually dying down at 3am, players stumbled back in search of their tents, in peak condition for a day of competitive rugby to follow.
Gavin’s breakfast BBQ proved the hangover cure, and the rugby commenced at 10am the next day. The men’s teams were in two pools of three. Kicking us off in brilliant sunshine and a strong breeze was Lomond vs. Strathendrick with a fantastic game to begin the festival and a win for Lomond. Next up was the InverMerchies, an eclectic mix of two teams, a combination agreed late on Friday night in the bar- the result mixed youth with cunning…Merchiston’s oldest player was 18, Inverleith’s youngest was 50. Nevertheless a brilliant team was created playing their debut vs. last year’s festival winners, Oban. The home team, the Ochalochs were next up beating Islay delivering another exceptional game.
The rugby continued in a similar fashion through the pool stages, the sun continued to beat down upon possibly the world’s most beautiful rugby location and the beer started flowing. By now the spectators were barging their way to the touchline for a good view of the semis. After some hard fought games, Oban and Lomond were the pool winners.
The first semi-final was played between Oban and the Ochalochs, a repeat of last year’s final. Lots of commitment and an extremely high standard of rugby were on display. The Ochalochs scored early and hung on against the wind in the second half against repeated Oban attacks to reverse last year result. The second semi-final between Lomond and Invermerchie was another cracker. Open rugby, great handling and a score that see sawed between the sides, before Lomond sealed it in the last minute to claim the other spot in the final.
Ochaloch’s versus Lomond was what it said on the scoreboard. But by this stage it had been a long hot day, there had been a few injuries, some of the training the night before was beginning to take it’s toll and the team manager’s had done some talent spotting in the earlier rounds. So there were a few familiar faces from the Invermerchies in the Ochaloch strip, and some solid figures from Oban had remembered that they actually came from Lomond. The result was a final that everyone had someone to cheer on, something we think is special about the Colonsay Rugby Festival…in the end the Ochalochs (or what remained of them) played an outstanding game, and claimed the title of victors of the CRF 2013.
The women’s tournament ran throughout the day; Oban Ladies playing the returning champions, the Edinburgh Warthogs. The two teams battled it out twice, the Warthogs maintaining their class standard, delivering two victories; brilliant games with some outstanding rugby.
The spectators were a huge bonus and encouragement to the players throughout the day; a mixture of islanders, visitors and the injured providing relentless cheerleading.
With the theme for the evening set as ‘Colonsay Safari,’ a hilarious spectacle of animals graced the ceilidh floor. Lomond arrived as a flock of sheep complete with shepherd and Warthogs a jungle of animals featuring snakes, pelicans and lions, to name but a few. The Oban women were dressed in safari camouflage skirts, which didn’t camouflage much at all. The Ochalochs had the best parrot of the night, a butterfly collector, a flying squirrel and a gorilla. The gorilla stole a small boy’s plastic banana- but was chased down. The effort made by all teams was absolutely fantastic- and everyone including the band and the bar was face painted to look safari-ish. The ceilidh saw some hilarious moments, tigers taking to the floor with crocodiles, foxes Stripping the Willow with flying squirrels. The band was fantastic yet again, calmly organizing the raucous animals across the floor. Noah has some competition on his hands! The dancing continued into the early hours by the light of a huge log fire, the bar was drunk dry, no animals were shot- an absolutely brilliant night had by all.
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