20th Anniversary Stockholm Tens concluded successfully
After the worst Summer in living memory the Gods once again smiled on the Stockholm Tens with glorious weather throughout both days, to be followed inevitably by heavy rain on the Sunday night. The previous bad weather had left all four pitches in perfect condition and the standard of the rugby also rose to the occasion.
All forty teams appeared on the dot and all 58 games were played within a few minutes of schedule on the Saturday. There were some missmatches as always on Day 1, but the competition in all seven tournaments on Day 2 promised to be intense with plenty of teams looking for silverware.
The Men´s preliminary rounds served to provide eight teams for the Cup, eight for the Plate and four for the Bowl. The Pirates, now known to be Hammarby´s best team plus some former Sharks, cruised through their first two games but could only finish a try ahead of French team Le Rugbynistère in the final game. In group 2, Coté Ouvert won their first two games against modest opposition, but then had to face the Exiles third team the Mohicans, almost all under 20, who had beaten these teams by even more. In a very tight game, the Frenchmen just got home to win the group.
Group 3 proved perhaps the weakest one, but what was in essence Hammarby´s second team did well to win all three games without conceding a point.
Group 4 was more competitive with top seeds Old Habs facing a strong challenge from Enköping. And it was in fact the Swedish team which moved smoothely undefeated into the Quarters, beating Old Habs 31 – 7. Finally, Exiles were far too strong for the opposition in Group 5, running up over 160 points and conceding only 5 points to Teamlink Titans in the last move of the final game.
All 20 teams were then ranked before assignment to the three scheduled competitions. When the smoke cleared and when minor changes were made to avoid repeating group matches (as stated in the regulations) the Cup quarter finals were Pirates vs Teamlink Titans, Hammarby vs the Mohicans, Coté Ouvert vs Enköping and Exiles vs Le Rugbynistère. These were all expected to be close matches, with no given winners.
Interesting to note that five of the eight teams were from the top three Swedish clubs, who nowadays are all filled with Southern hemisphere players and other foreigners.
The second level Plate had Old Habs as favourites while in the Bowl, Uppsala and Linköping had to battle it out against an Italian and a French team.
In the Ladies tournament, the cream came to the top with Moody Cows, Teamlink Boadiccas, the Exiles and Swedish Horny Bulls all getting through comfortably. The English teams were due to meet in one semi and the Swedish girls in the other.
An exhibition match between an Exiles´ based Old Girl´s team and a team from the West Coast, with both teams fielding a number of former internationals, saw the West Coast just prevail.
The final of the Old Boys on Day 2 saw Exiles meet the English BTC Old Boys who had recorded an impressive number of points on the way.
So the scene was set for Day 2 with 26 knock-out matches and all of the teams battling for silverware at different levels.
The quarter-finals of the Men´s tournament were expected to show some tight games, but it didn´t work out that way. The Hammarby Pirates easily beat the Teamlink Titans, while Hammarby who had not conceded a point on Day I were overwhelmed 57 - 0 by the Exiles youth team, the Mohicans, who put on a superb display. In the other half of the draw, both Enköping and Exiles outclassed French teams who performed perhaps at a lower level than the day before. The efforts of getting in and out of fancy dress for the Saturday night pitchside party may have played a part in the variations in form.
For the first time in the 20 year history of the Stockholm Tens, all four of the semifinalists in the Men´s tournament were Swedish, more a reflection of the strength of the top teams in Sweden rather than the weakness of the opposition. And, as has been mentioned previously, some of the Swedish teams had not too many natives in their squad.
And so on to the semis: Hammarby Pirates had to work very hard to score points against the youthful Mohicans, going 7 points up just on halftime and getting two more tries in the second. The Mohicans had some thrilling runs which were just stopped, before they got over for a consolation try to make it 21 – 5.
In the other semi, perhaps the moral final, Enköping started strongly and, helped by an interception and an Exiles yellow card they went 12 – 0 up within a few minutes. But Exiles got their composure back and were ahead 14 – 12 by halftime. Exiles dominated the second half and ran out winners 28 – 12.
The final was a more one-sided affair with Exiles closing down in defence and creating openings galore. It was 15 – 0 at halftime and 34 – 0 at the whistle with Hammarby Pirates rarely over the halfway line. Exiles thus added to their win in the Edinburgh Tens a month ago with another impressive performance.
At the next level, the Old Habs Panthers, who just missed out on the top eight, proved to be the best of the rest, beating English War Dogs by 17 – 7 in the final of the Plate. And in the Bowl, local team Linköping once again took home some silverware, beating Uppsala 24 – 14 in the final.
By Day 2, the Ladies were already at the semifinal stage: the holders, Moody Cows, blew away the Teamlink Boudiccas, while Exiles scored a surprise 14 - 5 win against the leading Swedish team, Gothenburg, masquerading here as the Horny Bulls. In the final, Exiles took an early lead and it was still 5 – 5 at halftime. A very strong Moody Cows had too much firepower, however, and they ran out worthy winners by 15 – 5. In the Plate final Enköping just got home against the Swiss team, Dangels, while Swedish youth team Lamkött beat the Norwegian ladies from Oslo in the Bowl.
The Old Boys final seemed a foregone conclusion with English BTC Old Boys having run up 174 – 0 on their way to the final. But Exiles, who had their best team for some time provided a very robust challenge, winning a pulsating match 26 – 19.
It proved a good 20th Anniversary for the arranging club Stockholm Exiles when they won the Mens´s tournament convincingly, their Ladies lost narrowly in the final to a strong Moody Cows team while the Old Boys just held on to beat a strong-running BTC Old Boys in their final. In addition, the Exiles Youth team put up some marvelous performances in getting to the semifinal of the senior cup tournament.
Results from all 84 matches are to be found on the Tens homepage.
There were decent crowds on both days despite competition from some other sporting event in London and the Saturday and Sunday night parties maintained their reputations as the places to be.
Thanks due once again to the many who have made this event possible. In the first instance our naming sponsor Nissan Mobility Motors and our beer sponsor, Budweiser, whom I believe have every reason to be happy with the demand for their product.
Our reputation for unsurpassed medical service was maintained with our squad of four doctors and other medical specialists who treated 300 patients over two days. The man in command, as always, Dr von Bergen, a k a Dr Death, who although past pensionable age still turned out for the Exiles Old Boys.
We are also famous for our referees, top class men and women from all over Europé.
Our convenor. Julian Bevan, has does a superb job in getting together 25 referees who took charge of all 84 games with a three-person line-up. Thanks to all of you, including Julian, especially those of you who have been coming for many years.
Thanks also to Karl Stein for providing great food in enormous quantities over the two days, as well as manning the bar.
Harriet Sharp kept a tight control in recording all of the 84 results and getting them up on the internet within a few minutes. Ably assisted by Joke from the Netherlands. Thanks also to the man who made the internet link-up possible, Gunnar Strand.
Plenty of Exiles were also around to build up and take down the setup for the Tens. Their efforts contribute to the surplus which we need to run the biggest rugby club in Sweden.
The two vital contributions were as before from the Mabon brothers, Allan and Hunter. They are due a huge thanks for the many hours they have spent in ensuring that the two days (more or less) ran like clockwork.
The arrangers, Stockholm Exiles RFC, will be celebrating their 50th anniversary next year and the 21st Stockholm Tens will be on August 3 – 4, 2013. Welcome!