GELVANDALE emerged as the new Makro Northern Areas High Schools’ sevens rugby champions with a hard-fought 21-12 win over champions Arcadia in the final at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium B field at the weekend.
Arcadia, who defeated Bertram in a thrilling final last year, again excelled in this accelerated version of the game, but this time they found Gelvandale too solid at the final hurdle.
Another popular sevens tournament, played on the B and C field at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, saw Morningside take the girls’ title when they outclassed Hillside 40-0 in the final.
Ironically, Gelvandale had lost to Arcadia in their pool game in the boys’ tournament 12-5, but they stayed on track for a spot in the playoffs with wins over Westville (36-0) and Bertram (7-5).
Once they found their rhythm in the playoffs, Gelvandale seized the opportunity to shade Arcadia, who had put together an impressive string of results on their way to the final.
Tournament organiser Shaun Fondling said yesterday they had been overjoyed with the way things had gone during the tournament.
“There were one or two hiccups, but those things can happen,” Fondling said. “But overall, the tournament was another great success. The players enjoyed the games and the matches were all played in a good spirit.”
Importantly for the organisers, the sponsors, of whom the main backer was Makro, were also delighted with how the event went and are keen to remain involved next year.
“The sponsors really want to get involved possibly in an even bigger way next year so is very encouraging for us,” he said.
For the first time, the tournament was held in the Nelson Mandela Bay precinct and Fondling said he had also spoken to Access Management, the company which runs the main stadium.
“We are keen to make it an annual event at the stadium and we are going to sit down with Access Management to see where they can help us,” Fondling said.
The tournament was the first step for schools rugby in the northern areas, with many players now turning their attention to the Northern Areas High Schools Festival, which will take place at the Adcock Stadium from March 20-22.
“This was a chance to get the children into a rugby mode and it also gave us an opportunity to identify talent so can put forward any contenders for the provincial schools’ team later in the year,” Fondling said.