In an almost perfect execution of their Bingham Cup campaign, the Sydney Convicts won both the Bingham Cup and Bingham Bowl on Sunday in Manchester. The Convicts A team played a tough match against our long-time friends but also rivals the San Francisco Fog in the Grand Final to win the Bingham Cup 22-5. The Convicts B team won their grand final match against the Dallas Diablos 13-3.
The Convicts are proud of their achievements at the Bingham Cup but also proud of the entire gay rugby community. This was the largest Bingham Cup ever the largest rugby tournament in the world in 2012. The quality of play and organisation of the tournament improves at each Bingham Cup. The host club, Manchester Village Spartans, did a fantastic job and all teams played with pride and passion in true Bingham Cup spirit.
Convicts President David Whittaker said, “The tournament was a lot of fun but also grueling. The standard improves every time, so it’s gets harder to win the trophies. We think we had the best two teams that we’ve taken to a Bingham tournament but until you get there you don’t know how much everyone else has improved. Our preparation was top notch but it’s always tougher than you think
it’s going to be. We all have very sore bodies.”
It was a hard fought victory for both Convicts teams, which included quite a few injuries in the bitterly cold and wet conditions. The boys played with courage and great Convicts spirit. For many of the players, this was their first international tournament. The entire team pulled together, veterans and new players, on and off the field. There was also an incredible group of supporters including coaches, team managers, doctors, physios, trainers, medics and partners who came to help organise, motivate and repair both teams. The Cup and The Bowl could not have been won without them.
Commenting on the nature of the Bingham competition, David Whittaker said, “The highlight of any trip is making it to a grand final. The pressure and intensity of those encounters is something very special and it’s a privilege to be involved. There are also some awesome moments when a player who is relatively new to the game – we took 22 Bingham Cup virgins this year – does something unexpected and brilliant.”
“This could be a screaming run, a big tackle or dives on the ball and puts his body on the line. These are the wonderful moments of Bingham. The lows are more about whether your body can get you through the three days. It’s tough, it hurts and it’s exhausting. But we pull together and have amazing support from medical and support staff.”
The Convicts A side bounced back from the bitter disappointment of the 2010 Bingham Cup in Minneapolis where it went down narrowly in the grand final to New York. But David Whittaker thinks the team was stronger this time on a number of fronts.
“The Cup team was a well balanced team – with some great new recruits we are more consistent across the park. The preparation was first rate. Our fitness was better than ever thanks to a tough pre-season regime with our trainer. We also enlisted the support of a top notch sports nutritionist, to help get us through six games in three days”
The Cup grand final was a tough match and the players put everything on the line.
“Bingham Cup 2010 Champions New York were beaten in the semi-final by the Fog. The Fog are always a solid team and they played a hard and relentless game of rugby. The Convicts had to leave everything out there. When you win a Bingham you know you’ve earned it. The Fog have been at the very top of the competition from the beginning and today they insisted we be our best in order to win. We take our hats off to them.”
This was also the first international tournament that our brothers, the Melbourne Chargers, played in. They had a great semi-final match against the San Francisco Fog’s B team and won 8-0 bringing them to the final. Unfortunately they lost in the Grand Final to a very tough team, the Kings Cross Steelers from London. They lost 12-0 in a great game of rugby.
The players on all three Australian teams did a phenomenal job at the Bingham Cup and as the teams played their best to represent not only the community but also Australian rugby.
“A few years ago we set a goal at the Convicts to help grow gay and inclusive rugby in Australia. It was brilliant to see the Melbourne Chargers not only at Bingham but making it to the grand final in their tier of competition. We are hopeful that the Brisbane Hustlers will restart later this year as well and play at the 2014 Bingham Cup”, said David.
Responding to questions on whether the Convicts might host the 2014 Bingham tournament in Sydney David said, “We have indicated to the international Bingham organisation, IGRAB, that we would be willing to host the tournament in 2014. There is a process that will decide the host city for 2014 and we are very hopeful that it will be Sydney – the first time it will have been in the Southern Hemisphere.”
“Having the tournament in Sydney would do a lot for gay and inclusive rugby in the Southern Hemisphere. We would be very surprised if there wasn’t at least one team from NZ and potentially even a Pacific Islands team. We also would love the South Africans, East Asians or Argentinians to get involved. A southern hemisphere Bingham Cup therefore stands to take the tournament global and
see the emergence of a host of new gay and inclusive teams in the region. This would be great for the Bingham Cup.”
David added that the Convicts are humbled by the support they receive from the LGBT and rugby communities in Australia, “The Convicts would like to thank supporters, sponsors and everyone in the LGBT and rugby communities in Australia. This includes the invaluable support we get from the media. We couldn’t take 50 players and 20 coaches, physios, doctors and managers half way around the world to play in this great tournament without their generous support. We feel very privileged to represent our community and rugby in Australia.
“We would also like to thank the Manchester Village Spartans, the City of Manchester, IGRAB, RFU, and the Bingham teams for a brilliant week and a fantastic tournament.”