Rugby the major winner as Newmarket puts on festival

DRIVING ON: Lee Kupyn ploughs through for Newmarket veterans team
DRIVING ON: Lee Kupyn ploughs through for Newmarket veterans team

Rugby fans young and old were well catered for as Newmarket RUFC hosted its own festival on Saturday.

While there was plenty of off-pitch entertainment provided for those that attended, the event was dominated by two rugby tournaments featuring players past and present.

Proceedings were launched with a seven-a-side touch rugby competition — sponsored by The White Horse in Exning — which included teams from Newmarket Under-16s and one made up of local veterinarians.

However, the eventual champions were the Barbarians, who included last season’s Newmarket Under-14 players Ben Criddle, Sam Skingley, Fred Kirk, Fabian Dodds and Miles Lancaster in their ranks.

First-team players Dan Johnson, Ben Cooper, Matt Dyer and Simon Guenigault also featured in the victorious side.

That was followed by the main match of the afternoon — the Alan Boswell Group Veterans Challenge between Newmarket and Cambridgeshire.

Fittingly, before the two teams locked horns on the warm afternoon, there was a one-minute applause to mark the recent passing ofex-Newmarket player Ian Parsons.

The light-hearted nature of the game meant that no score was kept, with players swapping sides and fresh faces being introduced to ensure the game kept ticking over to its conclusion.

Newmarket Veterans squad: Ben Wells, Stuart Brand, Simon Daines, Lee Kupyn, Ian Brown, Stuart Strickland, Ben Pugsley, Rob Holland, Oliver Shevki, Martin Hughes, Jaimie Tolworthy, Paul Greaves, Cy Philp, Jonny Brown, Richard Conway, Mark Cooper, Raymond Richardson, Nick Payne and Noel Griffith.