This year the annual rugby match in Myles’ memory was won, yet again…. , by the Irish but it was a closely fought competition and the best yet according to all those who took part. This year it was played on grass for the first time as the nursery slopes weren’t covered in snow. Karl Naepflin did a wonderful job laying out the pitch and he gave all the competitors a beer afterwards in his Figeller Bar, which was packed for the occasion.
New this year, an innovation of the Irish President, Mick Walsh, were the tags. Pink for the English and yellow for the Irish. It made it much more fun to watch and it was easier for the referee to see when someone had been caught.
T shirts were made especially for the event by Jonny Corcoran and are available from his website brickbear.co
The following was published in a local newspaper, was written by Lia Naepflin and she also took all the pictures :
In Memory of a Lost Friend
When the young englishman Myles Robinson tragically died in 2009, his friends started organising a rugby match on New Year’s Day in remembrance of him. The New Year rugby match soon became a tradition and seven years later it is more popular than ever and is a highlight for many.
On the 22 December 2009 the family Robinson suffered a terrible loss, their 23 year old son Myles went missing. His body was found six days later. Myles’ fatal fall was unexplainable. His family, friends and Wengen were devastated by this tragic accident. In memory of Myles a rugby match was organised on the 1 January 2010 on the bottom of the nursery slope.
This year the traditional match between England and Ireland took place for the seventh time. The Snowbar Figeler served as the clubhouse, offering refreshing beverages to all. The Wengen Rugby Club is made up of two teams, English and Irish holidaymakers who have been spending Christmas and New Year in Wengen for years. The Captains of the teams are determined annually, as is the President of Wengen Rugby club, which alternates between an Englishman and an Irishman.
The biggest thing that was missing this year was the snow, normally the playing field is marked with spray paint, however this year sawdust and tape had to do. This didn’t bother the motivated players as they were used to it at home.
The men play two fifteen minute halfs of touch rugby, a lighter less aggressive version of the real thing. Before kickoff both teams, along with about 80 spectators sang their national anthems as loud as possible. After a long and ferocious battle the Irish team won 9:7 against their English opponents.
The English proved themselves as good sports. This year’s captain was Oliver Banks, he is Myles’ sister’s boyfriend. “Sadly I never got to meet Myles, I know that he would have loved the match against the Irish though” said Oliver after the game. Banks and his English team mates grew a moustache for the match this year, as Myles had done the year he died in awareness of prostate cancer.
Under the roof of the club house the trophy was handed over to the Irish team captain, Peter Gleeson. He and this year’s Wengen Rugby Club President, Mick Walsh, both held a speech to the many gathered spectators huddled inside the snowbar, telling them about The Myles Trust. The trust was also founded in remembrance of Myles, it focuses on universal schooling.
At first the rugby match started as a game in the cold with few spectators, it has since turned into a yearly event which is continuing to grow in popularity every year.