On a perfect day for rugby, Mini teams from across South Wales put on a tremendous display which kept a large crowd thoroughly entertained.
The annual Brecon Mini Tournament benefitted from the cool dry weather and the good ground conditions which encouraged the young boys and girls to show the full range of their skills and commitment. Those skills involved some wonderful individual running, handling and tackling, combined with good team play and outstanding sportsmanship. Seeing players between the ages of 7 and 11 looking to hold the ball in two hands as they looked to beat their opponents or find support was enormously encouraging, as was the way that thunderous tackles were made around the legs or lower part of the body. In many ways the youngsters set an example which older players could follow and emphasised the quality of coaching they have received from the many volunteer coaches who give their time freely to work with these stars of the future.
Teams from Llanharan, Llandaff, Llandybie, Morriston, Rumney, Rhiwbina, Loughor and New Tredegar joined the more local group of Brecon, Gwernyfed and Builth. All teams and individuals produced performances of which they should be proud. For the supporters too it was refreshing to see how they got behind their teams but also respected their opponents in what was the true tradition of rugby football. At the end of the day every one of the 500 participants received a medal from one of the dayÕs sponsors, J.V. Likes Land Rovers of Hay on Wye. Brecon Rugby club who organised the event was grateful for their sponsorship and also the support they received from Christ College and ST Nicholas House and Owen Sports, Brecon. The backing received from the group of sponsors provided the base from which the Tournament could be organised and was part of a package of contributions which ensured that the Tournament was once again a great success.
Other significant contributions were made by the qualified referees who gave up their Bank Holiday to support the event and the administrators, organisers and helpers drawn from the membership of Brecon RFC under the leadership of Alan Taylor and Paul Amphlett. For all of those, however, it would be safe to say that they would be happy to remain in the background while the real stars of the Tournament took centre stage. The players certainly did that. In fact there could be no doubt that the overall winner of the day was the game of rugby and all those who participated in the keenly contested battles. A number of individuals exemplified all that was good about the spirit of the day. Kai Edwards and Tom Hughes of Builth, Layth Mahmood and Gruff Peters of Brecon and Jack Walton of Rumney were outstanding throughout. They showed great enthusiasm and commitment in everything they did and yet played with a smile on their faces and showed utmost respect for officials and opponents.
It would be interesting to track the future sporting careers of these and others who competed on the day. Surely they have a dream of emulating their heroes and one day wearing the red shirt of Wales. Long may that dream remain with them and long may they enjoy their involvement with their local clubs and with the sport of rugby.