Invitational side Samurai International, made up of players from across the British Isles, swept to victory in the Manvik Premier Sevens competition at the 2008 Guinness Carrick Sevens tournament over the weekend.
Click here for photos from the 2008 Guinness Carrick Sevens.
Ulster coach Matt Williams and Ireland-capped back rower Stephen Ferris were interested spectators over another hugely successful Sevens weekend at Carrickfergus RFC’s Woodlawn Grounds.
In the elite Manvik-sponsored competition, Samurai international proved too strong for all comers and they beat an Ulster Presidents selection, made up of Academy and Development players, in an exciting final.
The Ulster Presidents side had plenty of home support and equitted themselves well under the guidance of former Ulster centre Ryan Constable, who coached Ireland at the 2005 Sevens World Cup.
Wooden Spoon, another of the invitational teams, lost out to the Ulster Presidents side in the semi-final, while in the other semi, Samurai, who finished top of the pile in Pool A, got the better of an Irish Exiles line-up, who were winners in both 2006 and 2007.
There was some consolation for the beaten semi-finalists as Wooden Spoons player Dave Smyth won the Outstanding Player award and Mel’s Exiles took the Fair Play award.
Simon McDowell, one of Ulster and Ireland’s leading referees, took charge of the Manvik Premier final, while Frenchman Franck Bettes, whom McDowell had invited over, refereed the Lombard Ladies Tens decider.
There were joyous scenes on Sunday as Belfast side Cooke retained the Lombard Ladies Tens title. They beat Welsh side Merched Dolgellau in an end-to-end decider and it was a double success for Cooke as their player Joni Swanston picked up the Outstanding Player award.
A total of twelve teams competed for the FLP Cup, the trophy awarded to the Lombard Ladies Tens’ winners, with local clubs UUJ, City of Derry and Queen’s University fielding teams.
Host club Carrick had a good run, making it through to the semi-finals before they were beaten by Merched Dolgellau but Cooke kept up the Irish interest with a semi-final win over Wimbledon.
In the Guinness Open event, a well-drilled Wooden Spoons side lifted the Holmes Salver by seeing off the Down Exiles in another entertaining final, with the Spoons’ Will Bradley selected as the Outstanding Player.
Meanwhile, there was a dramatic finish to the Kukri Under-20 Sevens final at Woodlawn on Friday night as a late try saw Dungannon edge out defending champions Malone. The Ophir U-20s received the Fair Play award, while Dungannon’s Angus Taavao was a worthy winner of the Outstanding Player gong.