Derby Bucks represented in MARIs vs Warriors

Recently several of Derby RFC’s ‘Bucks’ from the club’s mixed ability team were invited to represent the club in an inaugural ‘Mixed Ability Rugby Invitational’ (MARI’s) side. The purpose of the MARI’s is to celebrate all that is good about mixed ability (MA) rugby, to build the camaraderie seen in teams like the famous Barbarians FC and to increase the profile of MA as a true example of inclusive sport.
On December 3rd team founder Tom Wilson and coach/ players Al Crawford and Mike Hawkes made the journey to Cardiff to meet up with teammates from across Britain. After a somewhat shaky start in convincing the parking attendant that they were allowed to be there (helped in no small part by Al being Welsh!) the weekend began. A short bus ride later and the boys were able to meet their fellow team mates for a Friday night run through. After this they headed over to Llandaff RFC, home to one of the most picturesque 1st XV pitches in Wales, for food and the weekend’s first kangaroo court including some rather questionable dance moves.
Saturday 4th brought fuzzy heads and game day for the MARI’s. Playing against the highly experienced Llanelli Warriors in celebration of founder and MA Champion Gwilym Lewis’ 50th birthday it was set to be a great fixture. With the game hosted at Cardiff Arms Park under the shadow of the Principality Stadium there was an atmosphere befitting the occasion. This was matched by a brilliant fixture that saw the lead change hands several times, a try for Derby’s Mike Hawkes and a final score of 32-31 to the MARI’s. Following this the team celebrated well into the night, ensuring their time in Cardiff wasn’t wasted!
Events like this couldn’t happen without volunteers driving it behind the scenes and thanks must go to Jamie Evans from the MARI’s/ Llanelli Warriors. His tireless work created a memorable weekend and helped to ensure the MARI’s got off to the best possible start. With fixtures due to be held 2-3 times a year we hope to see more Bucks called up over the coming years.
If you’d like to find out more about the MARI’s, the Derby Bucks or mixed ability sports in general please contact Mike Hawkes via [email protected].