Golden oldies set for February

The Baillou Rugby Club will put on a Golden Oldies touch rugby 7s tournament on Saturday, February 2 at the Winton Rugby Center at 2 p.m.

The one-day tournament will feature players who are over the age of 35 or who played rugby in its early days in The Bahamas.

Teams that will be featured are the Cuckoos Rugby Club, Freeport Rugby Club, Buccaneers Rugby Club and Baillou Rugby Club.

The organizer of the tournament is Kevin Salabie, head coach for The Bahamas women’s national team and a rugby afficianado. He said the tournament is to pay homage to the players who paved the way for players like him.

“The reason for this tournament is to honor all the guys who used to play, like, 20 years ago. They cannot play physical rugby but play touch rugby. It is a tournament to bring back Freeport RC, Baillou RC, Buccaneers RC and Cuckoos to honor all the guys that played before our time – the ones who paved the road for us,” he said.

He added that the older ones will be there to interact with the younger ones to tell them about the sport in their time. There will also be singing from the older ones which Salabie said was a custom for them.

It is set to be a family event where the children can enjoy good, clean fun.

After the tournament that will wrap up at 5 p.m., there is a dinner planned by Baillou RC at Nassau Yacht Club at 7 p.m.

“The dinner will be for Baillou RC older players. It will serve as a way to tell them thanks and that we really appreciate the road they set for us. Our club is one of the oldest clubs in The Bahamas. We will be honoring guys like Richard Lightbourn, Pops Burrows and Steven Johnson, just to name a few. It will be a great night,” Salabie said.

Aliv and Heineken are the sponsors for this event.

Rugby has gained some ground over the years in The Bahamas. It has been able to field both a national men’s and women’s team to play in regional tournament.

Recently, women’s national team player Carlene Johnson was invited to play for the Phoenix Rugby 7s, a club located in Florida.

She was a member of that club’s trip to Dubai to play in the Dubai International Invitational Tournament earlier this month. She scored in the final game.

The Bahamas Rugby Union played its first international game against Bermuda in 1997.

Salabie is urging the general public to come out and support the tournament that day and then the honorary dinner that night.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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