This was the Boston Ironsides first trip to the Bingham Cup. We took an inexperienced squad of 24 players, almost all with less than 2 years’ experience, but had a great time. It was our first time playing any international teams, with 20 teams from four countries joining.
Highlights: Cutting the sleeves off when the hot and muggy weather proved too much for our heavy jerseys, and a fire alarm causing the whole closing party to be evacuated into the streets, where the party continued in earnest, joined by the London firefighters.
Our second trip to the Bingham Cup in New York City with a stronger squad but still less than 25 players. Up to 29 sides from 22 clubs in 6 countries, and the first addition of the 3 tiers; Cup, Bowl and Plate. We had a hard-fought tournament, yet we won every match in the Bowl Division taking home the first hardware for the team with a win in double overtime against the Dallas Diablos.
Highlights: Winning in 100-degree heat on Randall’s Island, where it was so hot the turf fields had heat distortion coming out of it, hearing the referee mutter under her breath “oh please make it” as we kicked what would be the winning field goal, and much Jameson being drank out of the Bingham Bowl by the victors!
The Ironsides took about 25 players and joined the 32 teams competing in a very rainy tournament. Mixed results in the Bowl Division (now up to four with the Cup, Plate, Bowl, and Shield) left the team happy but winless.
Highlights: Friendships and connections made with the Emerald Warriors, bringing our own bagpiper who played us on, and playing on fields that were nicer than anything in the US.
The Ironsides lost a lot of players after Bingham Dublin - so many that we couldn’t field a full side. In late 2009, a couple of stubborn former players and some energetic new ones started rebuilding the team. We still didn’t have a competitive side when Bingham Minneapolis came around, but were able to send seven players. Our contingent joined Dublin’s Emerald Warriors and learned a whole new side of rugby culture from our Irish peers. They were a generous team and made sure we all got plenty of time on the pitch and plenty of fun off it. Through our combined efforts we won the inaugural Bingham Shield. A lot of what we learned from the Warriors came back with us to Boston where it was embraced by the reformed team.
The first time the Bingham Cup was held Down Under. Due to the time, distance, and budget required, it was tough pulling numbers together, and we came to a roster of about 19. The team played well but our small numbers were reduced further through injury and attrition, and we literally ran out of players and had to acquire barbarians just to finish our final match.
Highlights: Five days in Fiji, including watching the Fiji national rugby union team in-person. Breathtaking views of the Sydney Opera House and Watson's Bay. Breaking the hotel elevators and washing machines. Playing in the cold, miserable rain. Quokkas. Thai Me Up.