The Melbourne Chargers won the 2016 Bingham Cup, held in Nashville from May 26-29 2016. With 48 teams from 28 countries competing, the Bingham Cup is the word championship of gay rugby and is one of the largest Rugby Union tournaments in the world, promoting the inclusiveness of the game.
The Melbourne Chargers defeated the San Francisco Fog and the Washington DC Renegades A before facing the Sydney Convicts in the final game for the Bingham Cup. The final score was 20-7 with Sydney scoring and converting a try in the final minutes of an exciting match. This was the first time the club won the Bingham Cup.
“This tournament was a journey and we are so proud to have played to our full potential and won the Bingham Cup. Everything we did on and off the field was for the team as a whole. Our game against Sydney was the final challenge and we made history today,” said Chargers captain, Iain Abbot.
The Nashville Grizzlies gay rugby team hosted the 2016 tournament and welcomed over 1,300 players and hundreds more spectators, coaches and supporters to Nashville for a week of events leading up the tournament itself. In addition to nightly social events, Raptors Coach Andre Snyman hosted player and coaches clinics and as part of the community outreach of the organization, instructors from Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network were on hand for suicide prevention training for all interested players.
The tournament officially kicked off at the opening ceremony at Vanderbilt University. Mayor Megan Barry, state representative John Ray Clemmons, vice mayor David Briley and Athlete Ally founder Hudson Taylor and many other local and regional officials welcomed players from around the world to Nashville. Mayor Barry put on a Grizzlies jersey presented to her as honorary co-chair of the host committee. Pool play began on Friday, May 27 and continued through Sunday morning when the final brackets were determined.
The Nashville Grizzlies, hosts of the tournament, won their third trophy in club history, taking the Hoagland Shield.
“The IGR trustees, board and community would like to thank all of the participants, officials and supporters of the 2016 Bingham Cup. The 8th Annual Bingham Cup was our largest, safest and most successful ever. We would especially like to congratulate the Melbourne Chargers on their win of the Bingham Cup championship over the Sydney Convicts, through outstanding athletic performance and award winning sportsmanship,” said outgoing IGR Chairman Jeff Wilson.
“Everyone involved with the Bingham Cup 2016 tournament would like to thank the city of Nashville, all the volunteers and all the teams that came so far to participate,” said Bingham Cup organizing committee chairman Jon Glassmeyer. “Big congratulations go out to the Melbourne chargers on their win.”
Bingham Cup VIII Results
· Bingham Cup – Melbourne Chargers A
· Bingham Plate – Gotham Knights A
· Bingham Bowl – World Barbarians
· Bingham Shield – Washington Renegades B
· Hoagland Cup – Caledonian Thebans
· Hoagland Plate – San Diego Armada
· Hoagland Bowl – Columbus Coyotes
· Hoagland Shield – Nashville Grizzlies A
· Hoagland Vase – Kings Cross Steelers C
· Hoagland Jug – Ottawa Wolves
· Challenger Cup – Dallas Lost Souls
· Challenger Julep – Chicago Dragons B
The Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament is named after Mark Bingham, a gay rugby player who died on United Flight 93 on September 11, 2001. Mark played for UC Berkeley and the San Francisco Fog RFC and was one of the founding members of International Gay Rugby (IGR), a registered non-profit dedicated to promoting equality and diversity in the sport. He was also involved in the founding of the Gotham Knights RFC, the gay and inclusive team in New York City at the time of his death.
By Thomas Hormby, Nashville Grizzlies member
Header Photo: Nashville bridge lit in rainbow colors to honor 2016 Bingham Cup
Photo credit: Music City Aerial
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