Take a bow: Ben Collins; Matt Stone; Matt Chisholm; Matt Cross; Garin Garland; and Ben Langridge! These 6 Minety players have written themselves into the Guinness Book of Records for taking part in the longest marathan game of rugby 7’s, playing alongside our good friends from the Horus 7 team (RAF) and Witney Rugby Club.
Over the weekend of the 29th July 2017, our magnificent 6, aided and abetted by a huge number of supporters from Minety RFC, joined forces with players from Witney Rugby club to form the Witney Barbarians 7 a side team. They took on the RAF team, Horus 7, in a gruelling and hugely challenging marathon game of rugby 7’s lasting over 24 hours.
18 weeks have passed during which over 700 pieces of evidence have been passed to the Guiness Book of Records organisation. These have been assessed and we heard earlier this week that the record attempt has been ratified and that the new record has been officially set and recognised.
Most of Minety’s supporters will know that Minety player, Rob Bugden, a member of the RAF team at Brise Norton, was badly injured in a parachute training accident in the US in Janury 2016. Rob is an inspiration to us all and Minety forged links with Rob’s RAF team, named the Horus. Minety RFC has supported Horus as they fund raised for Rob and the club was delighted when they approached the club with a view to challenging the record for a continuous game of rugby 7’s.
Ben Collins, a university friend of Rob’s and a stalwart member of the Minety club takes up the story.
“We’d wanted to support Rob as much as possible and had met up with all of his friends at Brise. They had accepted our invitation to take part in the Minety 7’s tournament and the two sets of players hit it off straight away. They contacted us early in 2017, asking if we could contribute some players for the record attempt. Sadly, it was during the peak holiday period, over the WOMAD weekend as well, but 6 of us were available and joined forces with players from the Witney Rugby Club to form the ‘Witney Barbarians’ for the marathon against Horus.
“We knew that we had to play for at least 24 hours to be in with a chance of setting a record that the Guiness Book of Records would accept so initially we started with a view to playing for 30 hours non stop. However, after 12 hours we all knew that 30 hours was way beyond us and so we settled to establishing a world record of just over 24 hours.
“Both teams had to have 12 players with 7 on the field at any one time. After 1 hour’s play we were allowed a whole squad rest period of 5 minutes. After that we swapped on and off the pitch trying to aim for 30 minute stints although all of us had to put in many shifts much longer than that. I had one continuous session lasting over 3 and a half hours without a break.
“It was great when we had supporters to cheer us on, and lot came down from Minety and the area to give us support, but at 3.30am in the morning, with the rain hammering down and no one about, it was pretty depressing. The main problem was the sheer mental and physical tiredness that we all felt. You had to force yourself to keep alert and going. Everytime we stopped for a rest we had to take our socks off and dry them and the rub talcum powder into our feet to try and keep them dry and avoid the inevitable blisters. My toe nails have still not recovered. It was unbelievably hard and we would have been devastated if we had not succeeded in breaking the record. It’s certainly one of the most challenging and uncomfortable experiences of my life.”
In addition to setting a world record, the players also raised money for one of Rob’s associated charities: Cakes for Casualties. This small organisation visits rehabilitation centres for the Army, Navy and RAF around the country, raising morale with their visits and bringing in cakes. “They were very important for Rob as he came to terms with his injuries and we were delighted to help them out.”
Matt Chisholm & Ben Collins
Would Ben take part in a future attempt on the record. “Absolutely not!”
Minety RFC would like to send their heartiest congratulations to everyone who helped make this all happen and especially to the Horus team who co-ordinated the whole venture.