Wellington has its sevens, Auckland’s just held its first nines – and now Raglan’s got its fives back.
The Raglan Beach Fives were played on the Kopua Domain sands on Saturday for the first time since 2006, and organisers are hoping it will become a more regular fixture again as they try to “grow rugby as a young man’s game in the Waikato”.
There were no grandstands or any facilities to speak of – only the odd park bench or shade shelter, and a row of tents back up on the grass – but the handful of colts and women’s teams from around the Waikato who turned up for the tournament got plenty of barracking all the same as they struggled for both continuity and breath in the heat and on the soft sand.
At the end of the day – well, more early afternoon really because the pool games were quickly disposed of on the two supposedly 31 by 25 metre grounds – it was Kihikihi who took out the colts (under 21s) title from Pirongia, and Marist who beat University in the open women’s final.
Raglan Rugby Club did manage to put a colts team together at the 11th hour but Fives organiser Ratu Mataira says it was “more of a laugh – they had a run but didn’t get anywhere”.
The referee even asked the Raglan side before their first encounter if any had ever played Fives before, and when it became clear none had he gave them a quick on-field rundown of the basic rules.