The organisers of last weekend’s Manchester Summer 9’s have declared the event a success and have already begun planning for the 2017 event.
Four teams took part in the nine-a-side rugby tournament that was eventually won by Chester Gladiators who defeated the home team, Mancunians in the final by 18 points to 25.
Despite two teams withdrawing on the eve of the event, the organisers ensured that all teams enjoyed sufficient game time throughout the day, which lasted for four hours. Each team played at least four 18 minute games, with both finalists playing five games in total.
Tournament Director, Stefan Hopewell said: “Today has been a great exercise to test the concept and we’re very happy with the results. We’ve spoken to all the teams that came today and they have indicated that they will come back again next year and we have already set the date, which is Saturday May 27th which is on the Spring Bank Holiday weekend.”
“It’s disappointing that we had two late withdrawals but, we can only control what we can control and it was a good test of our resourcefulness that we had to adapt at short notice.”
Hopewell, who was tournament director of the successful York International 9’s in 2004 and 2005 is confident that he can bring his experiences to Manchester and for the event to be a huge success.
“The York 9’s was held over the Bank Holiday weekend as it is unusual for there to be league matches. That is still the case in 2016 so it allows teams from all leagues, all over the UK to descend on Manchester for an awesome celebration of Rugby League.” He said.
“One of the key factors to the success of the York 9’s was the fact that we had two pitches in operation allowing for simultaneous games to take place. We have two pitches available at our venue at Hough End which means that we can cope with more teams and build the Manchester 9’s into a must-attend event in the calendar. We have conferencing and banqueting facilities here which we intend to put to full use which sets the scene nicely for a great day of rugby.” Said Hopewell.
“We are however, limited by the fact that Magic Weekend may be in Manchester that weekend as we don’t yet know when that may be. But in the case of Magic returning to Manchester on Bank Holiday weekend, we have a date of the May Day Bank Holiday weekend in reserve.” He said.