Farnham’s youngest and finest made the journey to local rivals, Guildford, for their excellent Mini Rugby Festival. With teams from Guildford, Camberley, and Old Guildfordians in the mix, it was less of a gentle Sunday outing and more of a mini-version of the Six Nations, minus the outlandish intake of Guinness and rugby songs, of course.
In a display of sheer enthusiasm and the kind of organisational prowess that would make a Swiss train timetable blush, we descended upon Guildford with no fewer than 188 players across 19 squads, spanning five age groups from the Under 7s to the Under 11s. Yes, you read that right – 188! This is a testament not only to the popularity of rugby within our ranks, but also to the tireless efforts of everyone involved in our club. Given the passion for the game and the enthusiasm on show, it comes as no surprise to learn that we have the second-highest number of age-grade players registered in the country… huge congratulations to all the age-grade volunteers who support this magnificent operation!
Now, onto the rugby itself. As we all know, these festivals are a fantastic opportunity for us to gauge our progress against other teams. It's a bit like a parent-teacher meeting but with more mud and less platitudes. We get to see the fruits of our labour (and, oh, how sweet they are) but also the areas where we might need to tighten up our game. Let's just say, our typically smaller and lighter-weight sides faced the heft of some of our local rivals with all the cunning of a fox navigating its way through a hen house. There was slick handling, astute use of space, and a determination that size, indeed, is not everything. Of course, we didn't win all our battles, but then, who does?
A massive shout-out must go to Guildford for hosting what can only be described as a military operation masquerading as a rugby festival. With close to 700 players from four clubs, spanning five age groups and nineteen pitches, and not to forget, a variety of 'innovative' parking solutions, the day ran as smoothly as a well-oiled scrum. The organisation was nothing short of miraculous, and for that, we are incredibly grateful.
And so, as we look back on the day, we're reminded of the old adage that rings truer with every mini festival we attend – "rugby was the winner". It's a simple phrase, but it captures the essence of what these events are all about. It's not just about the scores or the medals (though, let's be honest, they're nice too); it's about the spirit of the game, the camaraderie among the teams, and the sheer joy on the faces of our players as they do what they love.
So, here's to a fantastic festival, to the tireless volunteers who made it happen, and to all our players, who represented Farnham with pride and joy. Here's to many more festivals, more tries, more tackles, and more great memories. Onwards!
by John Hartley