On The island of Grand Bahama in The Bahamas, Freeport Rugby Football Club is a beacon for the sport’s development, which continues to shine ever so brightly.
In fact, as beacons do, the club is a guiding force, bringing outside exposure to the island’s shores by hosting its 8th Junior Rugby Festival on May 19th and 20th, 2018.
With its origins as a rugby game between Freeport and Cayman Islands, Freeport’s then youth development officer Peter Bierne bounced the idea of a youth festival with the Cayman coach.
Testimony to the Festival’s rapid expansion, this year’s event will cater to over 400 young athletes from teams such as Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Key Biscayne, Florida, Nassau and of course the host club.
“A lot of our kids can’t afford to travel or do not have the right paperwork for traveling so these teams who make the effort to join us its a massive boost to our kids. This year will be our largest Festival to date and we look forward to hosting all the countries and teams to our island once again.” said the club’s president Robert Speller.
Looking beyond Rugby development, the Freeport Festival holds added significance, according to Speller who said: “With the recent run of hurricanes which have passed the Bahamas by culminating in Hurricane Matthew in 2016 the island of Grand Bahama has suffered significant damage to its tourism industry and the festival has made a significant impact to the local community.
“Since hurricane Matthew the island has been struggling to get back to where we were before and the Festival gives the local economy a timely boost while providing over 400 boys and girls the opportunity to play rugby and meet friends for life.”
True to its developmental philosophy, no overall winners will be announced in any of the age groups which range from Under 8 all the way up to Under 16, as the emphasis will remain almost solely about participation, enjoyment and camaraderie said Speller.
“It provides the kids with exposure to other teams and players and friendships are made for life which as we all know is what makes rugby the sport it is.”
Freeport – BOYS: Under 10’s, 12’s, 14’s and 16’s; GIRLS: Under 14’s and 16’s
Bermuda – BOYS: Under 8’s, 10’s, 12’s 14’s; GIRLS: Under 14’s
Cayman – BOYS: Under 8’s, 10’s, 12’s 14’s; GIRLS: Under 14’s
Key Biscayne – BOYS: Under 8’s, 10’s, 12’s 14’s, 16’s; GIRLS: Under 14’s, 16’s
Nassau – BOYS: Under 10’s, 12’s and 14’s
Okapdi – BOYS: Under 12’s and 14’s