Hadrian Cup MMXX

hadrian bust

On March 6th, as we welcomed teams from across the UK and Ireland to Hadrian Cup MMXX, we had no idea it would be our last tournament or match for months.

This year’s event was the biggest in the Ravens’ history, with 19 teams competing across two experience levels.

It was also a tournament dominated by our Celtic cousins as Irish and Scottish teams made up the finalists in both divisions.

Scrum

This year’s event was the biggest in the Ravens’ history, with 19 teams competing across two experience levels.

It was also a tournament dominated by our Celtic cousins as Irish and Scottish teams made up the finalists in both divisions.

Six months on, here is the take from Hadrian Cup MMXX victors Emerald Warriors:

Emerald Warriors with trophy

“A weekend full of fun and a Saturday of matches at Hadrian Cup marked my very first tour with the Warriors.

“The Ravens had it all extremely well organised with food, doctors and supporters, even the fireman’s lorry had a pride flag on it and the police had the pride and trans flag attached.

“The atmosphere on the pitches was thrilling, everyone was eager to play and have a good time.

Michael Menton

“It is hard to describe how you feel having your teammates by your side on and off the pitch, when you are excited and scared at the same time.

"They remind you that we are playing for fun, that running, tackling scrumming and rucking in the game leads to a few pints and laugh afterwards.

“The feeling of belonging as we stand together for equality is incredibly comforting because I believe events like that are helping us tackle homophobia, prejudice and intolerance.”

- Michael Menton

Emerald Warriors

mid game

With inclusive rugby burgeoning over recent years we decided to introduce a development tier to encourage newer teams to come along.

This division, the Antinous Plate, was won by Hadrians virgins Aberdeen Taexali.

Here is what they remember from their winning weekend:

Taexali and Antinous plate

“Based in the North of Scotland and still in our infancy, Aberdeen Taexali was thrilled to be able to attend the Hadrian Cup.

“With very little game experience, but a team more like a family, we descended on Newcastle for what was a fantastic weekend.

“Nerves were definitely running high as we arrived, but a quick win in our first game soon saw off any doubt that we were actually in the right place.

Rob Clunas and Matt Hyland award

“Each game gave us more confidence with the patient referees keeping us right, and it wasn’t long before the wins started to build up and we found ourselves on the main pitch for the finals.

“With a crowd of new friends cheering us on and the promise of that much needed night out, we dug deep and shocked our local rivals - the Glasgow Alphas - and ourselves.

“We can’t thank the Ravens enough for creating such a great environment, delivering top-notch entertainment, cracking referees and most of all great company - roll on 2021!”

- Rob Clunas

Aberdeen Taexali

Edinburgh post match

Looking back we realise how lucky we were to get the tournament away successfully given what followed just weeks after.

Normally by now a date would be set for the following year but this obviously remains uncertain.

Despite this, tournament organiser and Ravens chairman Bas Olthof-Bakker remains positive:

Bas with Hadrian Cup Trophy

“Hadrian Cup MMXX was our most successful event to date and we already had teams telling us they would definitely be signing up for next year.

“It is encouraging that things are going in the right direction with the RFU’s Return to Rugby Roadmap and we are optimistic for a 2021 tournament.

“Seeing people continue to share pictures and stories from ‘the last time I played rugby’ has given us enormous pride and strength during lockdown.”

- Bas Olthof-Bakker

Chairman, Newcastle Ravens

The Hadrian Cup Trophy

Newcastle Ravens, like many clubs, have gradually resumed socially-distanced training and events in the past weeks.

We will continue monitoring the latest guidance and hope we can welcome everyone back to Percy Park soon.

The nation’s favourite tens tournament will return…