THE countdown to the annual Crescent Head Sevens rugby union tournament is under way and time is short for the Forster Tuncurry Dolphins if they are to take part in the helter skelter carnival next Saturday fortnight on February 1.
The Dolphins enjoyed an unbeaten season last winter, but the seven-a-side rugby tournament will make for a challenging introduction to the new years program.
Seven-minutes-a-side rugby seems ridiculously brief, but the game is punishingly hard and soon sorts the athletic teams from the slow-coaches.
Coach Ron McCarthy has called for the Dolphins to begin official training tomorrow evening at Peter Barclay Field, Tuncurry, with a view to preparing his team for the carnival on the back of three Thursday evening training sessions.
Sevens rugby is a demanding game and we have just three nights to prepare for the carnival if we are to perform as well as we did in 2018 when we won the plate, coach McCarthy said.
The Dolphins require a minimum 10 players in their mens squad for Crescent Head.
The Dolphins were unbeaten in the Lower Mid North Coast premiership last winter when they won the Kennards Hire Shield, overcoming the Manning River Ratz in the grand final after the teams 25-all draw in the first round.
It was at the instigation of coach McCarthy that a proposal was considered by the Mid North Coast Zone in the off-season for the introduction of a reserve grade competition in the Lower MNC region.
Regrettably, while Upper MNC clubs supported the move, some Lower MNC clubs opposed its introduction, considering they did not have the playing strength to field two mens teams.
It should be a priority to establish a reserve grade competition for the consolidation and further development of rugby in the area, McCarthy said.
The reserve grade structure would be designed to take into account all clubs having between 20 to 30 regular players.
A reserve grade competition would lessen the current problem which sees bench players have limited playing time and allow a better introduction to the game for new players.
Likewise, it would allow aged players to stay actively involved in the game.
The Old Bar Clams began training at Richard Crook Field last night with Wayne Gahan as their new coach.