Inaugural Islay rugby Dalriada hailed great success by all involved

Players from Islay, Jura and Mid Argyll took part in the inaugural senior rugby Dalriada on Islay. Photograph Niall Colthart.

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Senior rugby players from Islay, Jura and Mid Argyll teamed up on the Port Ellen Playing Fields recently to participate in the region’s inaugural adult Dalriada tournament.

Around 25 oval ball enthusiasts took part in non-contact abbreviated games as part of a pilot event to see if the structure (currently played by minis from Lochaber, Mull, North Connel, Oban, Mid Argyll and Campbeltown) would work for the grown-ups too.

The competition was the brainchild of regional rugby development officer Andrew Johnston and brought to fruition by Jonny Broad (Islay RFC), Fraser Watson (Jura RFC) and Lee Buckley (Mid Argyll RFC).

On the day, teams played two games each – one 7s and one 10s – with Jura winning out overall.

Club captain Fraser Watson was over the moon that his team had been victorious in its first ever competitive fixture since forming in 1988.

‘Many of our players are from the farming community and are unable to play regular fixtures during the rugby season,’ he said.

‘This was an ideal opportunity to come out and show what we could do and we were really proud to be able to pull on our new club strips which were kindly sponsored by AGM Stone.

‘We look forward to donning it again and keeping our undefeated run going.’

It is hoped the tournament will now become an annual feature in the Scottish Rugby Calendar, which different teams will have the opportunity to host with the aim of promoting rugby development across the Argyll and Bute area.

‘Although all the teams involved, and others who may wish to play in future tournaments, are geographically close, the logistics of travel don’t make it easy for anyone to play in regular league fixtures throughout the winter,’ added Fraser.

‘This is an ideal solution.

‘Because this tournament is non-contact it also allows players aged from 16 to 106 to come and play the sport in a safe and sociable environment.’

The group are already working on a second tournament, possibly to be played in Mid Argyll, to take place later this summer. Watch this space.