THIS Saturday sees Old Penarthians host their annual seven-a-side tournament at Cwrt-y-vil Playing Fields in Penarth.

It will be the 70th consecutive running of the event which started in 1950 and was initially contested at Penarth County School until 1963 with one season at Cogan in 1951.

The traditional date for this local rugby highlight has been the third Saturday in May with an occasional visit to an earlier weekend.

This season however the competition will be staged in June for the first time and it is hoped that the weather will encourage a large crowd to turn out.

The date change has been necessary because of the extended WRU league rugby season and other conflicting sevens tournaments that take place at the end of May.

The change of date has however attracted ten very good invitational specialist sevens teams and for the first time at the tournament they will compete in two pools.

Each pool will comprise five teams and they will each play one another to determine the winners and runners-up in each pool.

The winners of each pool will compete in the final for the Roy Churchill Cup and the runners-up in each pool will compete in the Golden Jubilee Plate final.

The draw for the main event sees the teams drawn in the following pools:

Pool A Pool B

Old Penarthians Ponty Butchers

Warriors Penarth Bearbacks

Wales Deaf VII PC AllStars

Bowman 7s Voyagers

Function SFR Glantaf Goats

Last season the tournament was disrupted by the late withdrawal of teams on the day of the event but tournament organiser Stuart Munro and his assistant Jeff Norman have taken the precaution this time of inviting two other teams to attend, who will be able to compete if required.

Ponty Butchers will be keen to retain the Roy Churchill Cup they won in 2018 when they defeated local favourites Old Penarthians in a somewhat one-sided final by 49 points 12 but Old Pens did not stop trying and they will be looking to go one better this year

The Golden Jubilee Plate was won by Preseli BaaBaas last year but they are not competing this time so there is a possibility of a new name to be added to the trophy.

Last year the Man of the tournament trophy was awarded to Kane Teear-Bourge of Ponty Butchers for some thrilling try scoring and it has to be seen if he is selected to try and retain his award and to be one of only three other players to have won the trophy on two occasions.

The 2019 tournament will also see the introduction of a women’s’ seven-a-side competition for the first time which is sure to showcase the tremendous expansion of rugby into women’s’ sport. The competing teams are:

Llandaff North, Pontyclun Falcons, Vale of Glamorgan Vikings and Ponty Butchers

The teams will each play one another with the team at the top of the table to be awarded the inaugural trophy.

Entry to Cwrt-y-vil will be by programme at a cost of £2 and car parking will be available on the field at a cost of £5, which will include two programmes. Those attending are asked to make use of this parking facility to minimise the disruption to the local neighbours

In association with the tournament the club will also be providing food throughout the day to accompany refreshments that will be available from the club premises as well as from a marquee manned by club volunteers.

No glasses or glass bottles will be allowed on the playing fields and it is hoped that spectators will make use of the many bins that will be provided to dispose of their waste.

In order to manage the number of matches this year the first game of the tournament will kick-off at 12.30pm.

The first of the men's finals will kick off at 5.50pm with the Cup Competition final at 6.15pm.