Fast and furious finale

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THERE will be a fast and furious finale to the season at Morpeth Rugby Club on Sunday.

The Longhirst Hall Sevens has attracted 16 teams of talented specialists in the shortened game to compete for the trophies and cash prizes.

Squads from as far afield as Lincoln will showcase their speed and skill alongside sides from Tyneside, Teesside and Northumberland.

The popular event attracts a large gathering of spectators who enjoy a fun family day of top-notch sporting entertainment, barbecues and picnics that rounds off with a live band and disco in the evening.

Tournament Director Paul Jackson said: “The interest from clubs and specially-put-together sponsored sides has been fantastic. The playing programme is so packed that we will have to kick off at 11 in the morning.

“Some of the best sevens talent in the North will be on display and come rain or shine there is always a wonderfully happy atmosphere for players and spectators alike.”

The third staging of the competition will be of the highest standard yet, with the plate and cup finals scheduled to take place between 5pm and 6pm.

There will also be a raffle to raise funds for the club, with prizes including Newcastle United memorabilia, a signed Durham Cricket Club shirt, a free round of golf and a night’s stay at Longhirst Hall and two half lambs from the Craigs farm.

One of the organisers, Morpeth player Tom Wilkinson, is Director of Rugby at Newcastle University and will be coaching its sevens team against the Morpeth squads.

“There has been some good craic at Mitford Road about my switch of allegiance for this competition and there has been a friendly battle between me and the Morpeth coaches over the people who play for both Morpeth and the university side,” he said.

“We’re hoping it stays dry and that more people than in the past two years come along for the rugby as well as the evening event.”

• Morpeth town councillor Dave Herne and some of his fellow team-mates from Morpeth Rugby Club’s fourth team, The Stags, have got together to form one of the more unlikely seven-a-side rugby teams you are likely to see, calling themselves Stag Francais.

They have done this not to make up the numbers at the Longhirst Sevens tournament, but to raise as much money as they can for the Help for Heroes charity.

Residents can make a donation by adopting/sponsoring a player via www.stagfrancais.weebly.com/adopt-a-player and those who do so will be listed on the website as a player sponsor as well as being shown as a sponsor on the day itself.

There will also be collection buckets on the day of the event and those who cannot attend can give some money by going to www.bmycharity.com/stagfrancais