THE champagne was flowing on Sunday afternoon at Rifle Park when the Mengal Taggers and the Tropics set a new record for the world’s longest tag rugby match.
And, in the process of doing so, they have raised over £15,000 for Cancer Research UK with more money still to come in to add to the total.
The idea for the event originated from two brothers, Scott and Stuart Nelson whose father recently passed away after a five year battle with cancer. The match will be played in memory of family members and friends of the teams who we have lost through cancer and for those who are currently battling with the disease.
The game itself kicked off at 8am on Saturday morning. Conditions were perfect - cloudy and cool temperatures, although maybe a little windy. The first thre-quarters of an hours were very pacey - too fast, according to one spectator - and the Mengal Taggers opened up a comfortable lead of around 40 points which they held most of the day.
Meanwhile off the pitch the crowds continued to grow and offered lots of support to the players.
Between 7-8pm the early pace of the game started to take its toll and the girls from the Mengal Taggers started to suffer. Christine Henning suffered a bad knee injury which kept her out of action from some time. There were also a couple of groin injuries and an ankle injury and as a result the physios present at the event were kept very busy.
With the Mengal Taggers suffering the Tropics took control thanks to Elizabeth Martin and Christine Robinson. Throughout the night, when temperatures dropped to three degrees, the game slowed somewhat but the teams were kept going by a superb cowd of supporters and helpers, many of whom stayed right through the night.
Come daybreak the Tropics had opened up a gap of around 150 points and increased this to over 200 points by mid-morning, but with crowds gathering and showing support the Mengal Taggers showed some resolve and played up to the crowd a little to out-score the opponents in the final couple of hours.
However it was nowhere near enough and the final score was Mengal Taggers 1097-1259 The Tropics.
This, however, was not the important part of the day, as at 2pm with a countdown from the crowd the match reached its 31st hour and continued on to 3pm to set a new Guinness World Record for the longest game of touch, tag or mini rugby ever.
The team where very gracious of all the support they received throughout the event and planning process, especially to all the sponsors, particularly Pinsent Masons, Akuma Rugby, Mars and PowerNI who weere the main sponsors of the event.
A final total as not been recorded as some money is still to come in but over £15,000 so far has been raised for Cancer Research UK.