Training, fundraisers and more: Sydney Convicts prepare for the Bingham Cup
In the run-up to the Bingham Cup, host club the Sydney Convicts has a lot of activities planned, including some much-needed fundraisers to get them over the line, club president David Whittaker tells Ron Hughes.
The Convicts have plenty at stake in 2014, because not only are they hosting the tournament for the first time down under, they are defending two trophies: the Bingham Cup and Bingham Bowl.
“It’s an awesome tournament and we are really glad that Sydneysiders will get the chance to enjoy it,” Whittaker says.
“We are also looking forward to showing the visitors around!”
Aside from the whirl of preparations around sporting, social and cultural events, the team needs to be at the peak of match fitness.
“We started our pre-season in early February with the Bondi 10s tournament and also went to Brisbane to play the Australian gay rugby championships,” Whittaker explains.
“We are into round five of our regular Saturday rugby comp and the teams and game plan are starting to gel.
“We will be entering three teams [in the tournament], which is amazing. As a little scoop for SX readers, there is actually the possibility of a fourth Sydney team if some of the Convicts Old Boys reunite to play at Bingham.”
He says more than 100 people are involved in the Bingham Cup campaign. “We have team managers, medical and physio, lots of Dencorub, strapping tape and our famous ice baths,” he says.
“I think there might also be the odd cheerleader.”
What with providing the medical team, playing kit and casual uniform, and a whole lot of equipment, not to mention player registration for the tournament of around $250 per person, it’s no wonder the Convicts have held fundraising events to help pay some of these costs ever since the first tournament in 2004. And in the 100 days leading up to the Cup, there will be plenty for their supporters to get involved in.
“In May we have Disco Bingay at the Shift on Thursday nights which is a lot of fun,” Whittaker says.
“Our biggest fundraiser is just around the corner, Rugger Bugger ‘Initiation’ is on May 31 at the Midnight Shift. It’s the 10th anniversary of this event. In late June we will hold our annual Convicts Trivia night at Paddo RSL. So lots of opportunities for the community to show its support.”
Whittaker calls Rugger Bugger – a Full Monty strip show – a “rite of passage” for new players.
“This year’s crop of new boys is hot as can be and they will be getting it all off in a massive show put together by Decoda Secret,” he reveals.
“There will be a series of shows, lots of rugby players in not much at all, and great music by Adam Love, Magnus and Mason Andrews.”
The success of the Bingham Cup 2014 comes down to the support of the community, in the end.
“Get involved in the Convicts fundraisers, have a great night and support an important community organisation,” Whittaker urges.
“We are always humbled by the support we get from our community, so thanks. And don't miss the Bingham Cup!”
Rugger Bugger: Initiation is on Saturday, May 31, 10pm-late, Midnight Shift, 85 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst