Gibraltar Rugby ranked 87th secures a 31-26 win against Sweden ranked 46th in the world!
Gibraltar’s home match away from home held at Browns in Vilamoura on Saturday 4th May was part of the 9th edition of the Algarve Rugby Festival. A particularly busy event with the final stages of the Browns’ Walking Football Festival’s 4th edition also taking place on that day.
On three 5-a-side pitches, walking football teams across the UK and the Algarve competed for their chance to win one of the four trophies up for grabs. This year’s Browns Walking Football Festival saw Olhão team take the winning title, runners up were plate winners Browns 2; Bowl winners were Browns’ first team with Sporting Ramsgits taking home the Wood Trophy. The most valuable player was female player Beverly Taylor from Preston North End. The festival games were structured to allow for teams to continue playing throughout the two-day tournament, with the importance being placed on the positive health and social aspects this relatively new sport is all about! With players all over 50, teams played respectfully with the competitive spirit of a 20-year-old, all with the common understanding and love for "the game". It's the spirit of friendship found at these tournaments, which has allowed walking football to evolve so rapidly over recent years.
On the adjacent full-sized rugby pitch, Gibraltar and Sweden were full-on as they played a very competitive game of rugby throughout the full 80 minutes. Host team Gibraltar took the lead with a try and conversion within the first five minute of the game. By half time the score was a 14 point tie. Sweden took the lead in the second half bringing the score to 14-19 but Gibraltar pushed back bringing them up to a leading position 24-19 with a converted try and penalty. Sweden then fought back with another converted try, bringing the score to a close 24-26. Gibraltar’s final victory came from a huge effort by Matt Jones to secure a final try. What a game to watch only steps away from the sideline!
Post-match, the football and rugby teams enjoyed a barbeque meal while spectators gathered on the outside terrace for a sunset party with local DJ, Simon Perry. The music continued until late while spectators and players loosened their sore muscles with dance moves.
Two Sports, four pitches, pitch-side bars followed by a sunset party created a truly unique atmosphere for supporters and spectators. The day was a true celebration of sports and the friendship that comes with it.
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