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Mini rugby: Cooke is it

By Ciaran Donaghy

The event held at Upritchard Park in the Co Down resort was a huge success with over 200 players taking part in front of a crowd of over 500 spectators.

The P6 side played in a seven-team league, with each team playing each other.

Although Bangor Tigers put up a good fight they didn't have the bite of Cooke who flew through the league scoring an amazing 19 tries.

The P5 teams played in a tournament with eight teams in two sections. Unsurprisingly Cooke side reached the final where they faced the formidable Ballymena rugby club.

In a nail-biting final Cooke won by just one try showing just how much training and drilling the teams do in preparing for these tournaments.

Most matches were contested evenly, which was a pleasure to watch for the coaches and parents who work so hard to train and support the kids.

Some great tries were scored and there were great examples of handling and passing. Young players such as these ones are great prospects for Ulster rugby in the future.

This is one of the rare events when players get to play under floodlights and most teams settled into the challenge very well.

This tournament is one of the first in a long season and gives rugby followers a chance to see who will be the teams to beat throughout the year.

Joe Jordan, from Jermon Developments, the owners and developers of the tournament's sponsor Springhill Shopping Centre, handed out prizes to P5 winners.

He said: "All of the kids played extremely well and there is clearly a lot of talent out there.

"We're very glad that we have been able to play a part by sponsoring the tournament and follow the success of the club as these young players develop through the ranks."

The senior vice president of Bangor Rugby Club, Griff Kirkpatrick, thanked Ross Gilanders for organising the tournament.

He said: "The Bangor Mini Rugby Floodlit tournament has been running for 15 years and I think this was the biggest and most successful so far.

"Mini rugby has gone through a huge expansion in the last few years at Bangor going from around 60 players seven years ago to 170 this year."

Belfast Telegraph

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