Philippa (left) and Karina (right) at theTag glitz blitz in Ballsbridge.
Last Saturday the Emerald Warriors ran a very successful tag glitz blitz to launch the start of events which will be hosted in the run up to Union Cup. Over 200 people attended, with Guinness emerging as victors at the end of the tournament. Philippa Ryder gives us her insight into the event below.
What an amazing day we had at the Union Cup Tag Rugby event in which Karina and I represented Team Sporting Pride! The fun competition was organised by Emerald Warriors in Wanderer’s Rugby Ground in Ballsbridge, Dublin. The weather was absolutely perfect – sunny with a slight breeze, just enough to keep us cool. Around 200 players and spectators attended, with matches running consecutively on three separate rugby pitches. Each of the teams had 7 players (plus subs) with players being drawn from the Emerald Warriors themselves, corporates (such as Vodafone and Google), and other allies.
The Union Cup organisers pulled together a few extra players which enabled us to field a Sporting Pride Ireland team. Initially listed to play alongside their own Emerald Warrior teammates these players now added a more competitive and, mostly, very experienced element to our team! Michael and his fellow organisers were very understanding and friendly, keen to help us in whatever way they could on the day.
Having never played tag rugby before I was a bit disappointed when, as I stood on the pitch for the first game, the referee informed me I couldn’t play wearing glasses and rings. I was to realise why a few minutes later when I saw the ‘non-contact’ sport being played! However, it looked like too much fun to let something as simple as being able to see stop me so off with the glasses and on for the second-half of the first of 7 games!
The rules seemed simple: you have two long strips of material stuck by velcro to a belt. If an opponent grabs one of them you have to stop and tap the ball to one of your teammates, up to a maximum of 5 times, then it’s turned over to your opponents. If a ‘girl’ (very, very loose definition of ‘girl’) scores a try the scoring team is awarded additional points. Other than that, it’s rugby!
Sounds easy, right? Just grab a tag? Well, no, not really! Firstly the ability to actually see the tags would have helped. Secondly, the speed of some of the guys meant that I hadn’t a chance in most cases – I think I got a tag once! Furthermore, I almost went head over heels trying to catch one of the opposing team. I almost scored twice but also threw an appalling pass which was intercepted and gave away a try! My overriding memory of my first game was of a very large guy with a pink unicorn horn on his head (hence, self-identifying as a girl!) racing towards me with the ball. The stuff of nightmares! But as the games progressed we got more comfortable on the pitch and played much better. Ah, if only I was 30 years younger.
We got as far as the Plate Final, winning 3 games, losing 3 and drawing 1. By the final I had nothing left and I came off for the second half, replaced by Karina, with wobbly legs and aches everywhere from a number of accidental collisions, falls and endless running.
Lovely food and a glass of wine were provided afterwards, accompanied by lots of entertaining chat and photos before our tag rugby career came to an end…. For now at least!
Thanks to all at Emerald Warriors/Union Cup for a truly memorable day and roll on June 7th and the beginning of the Union Cup in Dublin City University!
Team Sporting Pride!!