The Men´s Cup started Day 2 with the Quarters where the Pool 1 winners met the fourth placed in Pool 2. The Waterboys demolished Södertälje while Exiles finally pulled away after a brave show put on by the Babas. The battle of the Lithuanian teams saw BaltRex just get home 19 – 15 against Vairas while the English Beavers who had looked very good on Day 1 were beginning to show wear and tear as they beat the Black Dragons from the U.S. 28 – 17.
The Waterboys then faced Baltrex from Siauliei, the centre of Lithuania rugby, with a number of internationals in their squad, but still prevailed 24 – 0. Exiles then faced the Beavers. The home team looked to be comfortably ahead but the Beavers fought back and even took the lead with a few minutes to go. Exiles got their act together and took a 7-point lead when Dustin Eaton put one over from the touchline. But Beavers came back again and scored on the final whistle only to make a hash of a relatively easy conversion. 29 – 27 to Exiles and a huge sigh of relief from the home support.
And so on to the hoped-for final between the Waterboys and the home team. I think it would be fair to say that the Waterboys received their most serious challenge, but an interception and a last-minute try in the second half saw them home 24 – 5. The Waterboys have won a few tournaments this year, brought their strongest team including five players from the Scottish champions Ayr , and I would judge them to be the strongest amateur side in Europe at present. They were well-deserved winners and the Tens were very happy to see them return.
The second level of the Men´s tournament was also a success with some of the newer Swedish teams getting a chance to show what they could do. The Scottish Bovril Boys proved too strong for the Swedes beating Linköping 19 – 0 in the final, the latter having put out Erikslund 19 – 7 in a previous round. And congratulations to Exiles Mighty 3s who in a show of club strength in depth took the Shield beating IKSU 17 – 14.
The Ladies tournament was very competitive, with Linköping moving along quietly winning their games with a bit to spare. Exiles had one extra game and had to battle against Uppsala and Vänersborg to get to the final. There, in torrential rain, they looked as if they could hold on to a 5-point lead, but Linköping found something extra in the last few minutes and ran away to win 12 – 5. Huge rejoicing in the Linköping camp!
On the social side the fancy dress party on the Saturday night lived up to its traditions and the get-together at the Dubliners on the Sunday was also a success.
An army of medical staff, referees, administrators, caterers and sponsors kept activities flowing and maintained our justified reputation as a well-run tournament. Thanks to them all.
In some ways it´s the end of an era, however. Allan Mabon, who has held things together for most of the last 25 years is stepping down after a fantastic contribution. Hopefully his brother Hunter Jr will continue to help with logistics and graphics.
Another serious problem is that the rugby pitches at Årsta where the Tens has been for many years are now being taken over for housing. We have been promised better facilities nearby by the City Council but these will not be ready by next year. Do we find a temporary venue for next year or do we take a time-out until the new rugby centre is completed? That´s something we´ll have to decide in the next few months and we will of course keep all Tens enthusiasts informed about developments.