DIANI BEACH - KENYA
DIANI BEACH TOUCH RUGBY
For the first time, we were running a separate School tournament along the main one. 6 teams from up country made it to Diani. It was great to have the kids down at the beach, showing us their potential and passion for Rugby.
Dennis Gem has been coordinating them:
"I had 4 different institutions with me. Mafikizolo and Shosholoza are Orphans from Nanyuki Childrens Home and were sponsored fully by BATUK - British Army Training Unit Kenya. The oldest kid was 16yrs and the youngest 6yrs old, all playing rugby. In that team was a very committed girl that I rewarded by bringing her to Diani though I had left behind some better players. Her name is Agnes Apokot. She is a special girl, 13yrs and in class 1 As we all know, the age for class 1 is 6 yrs. This girl is mentally challenged and a slow learner but a very committed rugby player. She never misses training and her commitment paid off. Same case to the 6 yr old girl Caleb Lamuria, she is normal but the youngest and very committed.
The kidsare all in primary schools and get trained by BATUK Comd and myself.
The other team was Daraja Academy. They are in the outcasts of Nanyuki. It's a school run by an American Organisation. They select bright girls from all over the country, especially Samburu and Maasai Land. If you are picked you get sponsored for the whole 4yrs of High School. The School won the Bowl in the 2015 Schools National 7s in Nyeri and are now ranked 8th.
This team was sponsores by Ali, she helps run and manage Tag Rugby Trust in Kenya.
The other team was Loise Girls. It's a school that also sponsors girls who have done well in primary exams. The team was sponsored by another member of Tag Rugby Trust, Lucy Welland.
The School reached the Plate Semi finals in the just concluded 2015 Schools National 7s and finished 6th.
The other school was Inoro School. We used their bus for the trip. The principle is a lover of rugby and supports it fully. It's a Mixed Day School. The School met the kids half way in the budget to the tournament.
Those are just part of the schools I train in Nanyuki on a voluntary basis."Dennig Gem
It was an exciting weekend for Diani based South Coast Pirates after its constituent team The Dash Board won the seventh edition of the Diani Touch Rugby tournament held at the Forty Thieves beach bar on July 3 - 5 2015.
Beating Top Deck 3 - 0 in a thrilling cup final, The Dash Board set a record of the first year the tournament has ever been won by a host team since its inception.
Enroute the final, The Dash Board beat Young Guns & Old Bullets in the cup playoffs, Sand Pipers in the quarters Wakimbizi in the semis while their opponents stun Kenyatta University Mombasa, Malindi and Bollore Pumas in that same order.
In other fixtures played earlier that day, Civicon were Plate winners after a 1-0 victory over Newick on Sea in a hotly contested match.
Mwamba rugby players, the Private Developers beat Technical University of Mombasa (TUM) to lift Bowl while The Honey Badgers won Shield after seeing off Norfolk Inn Chance.
In the schools category, Mafikizolo won 2-0 against Daraja to win despite the latter beating tournament favorites and Day One unbeaten rivals Inoro 3-1.
Speaking during the award presentation ceremony, chairman George Barbour expressed his sincere gratitude to all the fans, players, officials and sponsors who had made this event a success.
Also by a show of hands, the dates of the next edition of the Diani Touch Rugby Tournament were set to be on 8-9 July 2016.
A proposal for a full contact 5-aside tournament had also been made to be held on 2-3 January 2016 but was subject to discussion.
All in all, it has been an exciting weekend packed with fun action in Diani.
See you all next year!
Read the article from Paul Okong'o
THE TOP 3O RUGBY PLAYERS IN KENYA and get to know George Barbour a little bit more...
Click here to read the article
The idea of starting a properly organized touch rugby game played basically to the FIT (Federation of International Touch) rules came to me when I was asked to referee a type of social touch rugby during Diani Rules many years ago. This is a fun sporting weekend held annually on the beach to raise money for Diani Charities.
I talked to a few of my rugby contacts who all thought it a great idea. The proof of it’s success is that this year will be our seventh tournament, the last two we have had 28 teams from all over East Africa. From this tournament we have now set up a rugby club called “South Coast Pirates Rugby Club” who play full contact rugby in the Coast League and at present are top.
Over the years the standard of play has improved immensely it has gone from the stop start type game to a fast flowing spectacle, in the years to come it can only improve. We cannot increases the number of teams without a major rethink and increase in pitches which on a beach when working against the tides requires a major reorganization and into expensive lighting options . The best way is to keep teams the same numbers and improve the standards, I would like to host an International Touch Tournament here as well as a more social event, probably a schools event as well.
Next year in January 2016 I hope to organize a 5 a side full contact event on the beach. Our events are open to everybody whether club, pub or just a bunch of folk who would like to play touch and have a social weekend on the one of the most beautiful beaches in the world with friendly fun loving people.
Come one, come all, whether you play or not, this is one of the most entertaining fun weekends of the year, watch, relax or swim in the warm blue waters of Diani Beach, South Coast, Kenya, walk on the snow white sand, dance the night away at “Forty Thieves” enjoy, enjoy.
The 8th edition of the annual Diani Beach Touch Rugby Tournament culminated into a fairy tale end for the host club as two of its participating teams set up a mouth-watering clash against each other in the final.
However for South Coast Pirates I, this will be seen as missed attempt at defending the tittle they won last year following a defeat by the II team whom they held quite well before the halftime break. History on the other hand was also made as South Coast Pirates became the first club to have two of its teams winning the tournament in as many years.
Making the final, the two teams withstood and came out firing at the challenges presented to them by other teams making it almost seem like an entertainment treat for the local fans as well as a reward to the management for all the support they have received from them.
The introduction of another constituent team, South Coast Pirates III could not have come at a better time for the tournament hosts as they brought to ground exciting results from their matches played despite falling to Les Gaulois in the plate final, where a win would ensure a clean sweep of the tournament's top tittles.
The chairman, Mr George Barbour, also deserves endless plaudits for the progress the tournament is taking - becoming a hugely followed and attended event by many across the rugby scene. His efforts to promote the game in the south coast region as well as specifically touch rugby in the country are applauding.
The organising panel has set up a benchmark for other rugby tournaments and the 2016 edition will be particularly remembered by the growth of the game at the kids level. The level of competition set in the junior tournament attracted many supporters and had the final game cheered by everyone at the venue. One Gem Dennis particularly involved in age grade rugby was rock steady as were the kids involved, making it a tournament of its own in a competition.
The sponsors, Tusker Ndovu and the rest involved, like the fans, will all be hoping for a live re-run of the tournament any time soon seeing its success in terms of marketing and brand awareness.
To cover it all, from the media point of view, we say thank you for the great experience and hope to be involved in every step and turn taken to get the tournament at the level of elite rugby competition.
Cheers, until next time.