Sydney Convicts: Defending the Bingham Cup
With over 30 teams vying for the Bingham Cup, the Sydney tournament is going to be the most competitive yet. But host club and reigning champions the Sydney Convicts are ready for the challenge. Reg Domingo reports.
In the world of rugby, all eyes will be on Sydney this week with the arrival of the Bingham Cup tournament. And in the battle for the top prize, all eyes will be on the host club, the Sydney Convicts, who are the reigning champions.
Coach Charlie Winn led the campaign to bring the cup home from Manchester two years ago. He has since presided over a string of achievements on the field for the club.
Winn recalls the past few years with a sense of pride and accomplishment.
“Winning in Manchester – that was a fantastic achievement,” Winn tells SX.
“But also, when we came back, we won the Nicholson Cup, which is the Sub Districts’ cup that we were playing in that same year.
“So that really was a fantastic highlight that continued the great work we had done in Manchester – to take the team to win something we had never done before.”
Above: The Sydney Convicts winning the Bingham Cup in Manchester in 2012. Photo: Mark Dickson
More recently, the club has been making gains in the suburban competition, beating the Sydney Irish in the second round of the fifth division comp. And the club beat Macquarie University at a curtain raiser earlier this month.
“That was a definitely highlight,” Winn says. “Warming up the field at Sydney Cricket Ground, and coaching them to a really good win there – that was the best we played all through the season.”
With Winn at the helm, the Convicts are on course for another successful performance that will ensure the silverware stays put.
But it will be no walk in the park, admits Winn.
Above: Sydney Convicts coach, Charlie Winn. Photo: Hamid Mousa
“The tournament continues to get stronger,” he says. “In fact, I think, this will be the best level of rugby the tournament has seen, particularly with a couple of new clubs like the Brisbane Hustlers and the Melbourne chargers, on top of the usual suspects like London, New York and the [San Francisco] Fog as well.”
He says the club has been training for the tournament for months, with a holistic program that not only prepares players physically but also mentally. But most of all, training has been all about being a team.
“We work as a full squad – it’s not just about 15 guys, it’s about all 25 and how we prepare ourselves and assist each other,” Winn says. “Everyone puts in, whether it’s on the field or off the field.”
Now it’s up to us to get behind the Sydney Convicts to ensure the Bingham Cup stays home.
“If we can get as many people down to support the team and have their presence known to us that they want us to do well, that would really be something that would be appreciated, especially as it’s the first time it’s being held in Sydney.”
We’ll be there.
The Bingham Cup tournament runs over three days during Bingham Cup Week: August 29-31 at Woollahra Ovals in Rose Bay. Go to binghamcup.com for details.