Birmingham Bulls Return Triumphant from The Bingham Cup
For the first time in their history, the Birmingham Bulls, a Rugby Union Club based in gay community entered and returned triumphant from the ‘World Cup of Gay Rugby’ after winning two major titles.
Both the A and B Team enjoyed resounding victory in The Bingham Cup in Amsterdam where 1700 players from 72 teams from 16 countries battled it out to win their Divisions.
However, The Bingham Cup isn’t just about rugby. It’s about being accepted in sport without the fear of homophobic abuse and proving to the world that you are good enough to compete at a high level regardless of your sexuality.
The competition is named in memory of the 9/11 hero and rugby player Mark Bingham who founded two of the world’s first inclusive rugby clubs. His dream was to be able to create a team where everyone was welcome and would be good enough.
Mark Bingham with his Mother Alice Hoglan
“We have the chance to be role models for other gay folks who wanted to play sports, but never felt good enough or strong enough. More importantly, we have the chance to show the other teams in the league that we are as good as they are. Good rugby players. Good partiers. Good sports. Good men.” – Mark Bingham.Every two years, Mark’s legacy brings together rugby players, supporters and staff from around the world in a celebration of equality, inclusivity and sportsmanship.
For the Birmingham Bulls, it wasn’t just about winning. The players wanted to make a statement and show the world how great they are in ability and teamwork.
Make a statement they did! The Birmingham Bulls A Team dominated their three pool games with convincing wins and without conceding a single try. They dominated every scrum, causing opposing packs to retreat, and ensuring that nothing could get through their defence.
They were then promoted into the Bingham Division Quarter Final, beating Ireland’s Emerald Warriors B 0-47 and progressing to the Semi-Final, beating the Los Angeles Rebellions 3-14.
Into the Final, the Bulls faced America’s Boston Ironsides. Despite a reputation as a solid international team with previous wins under their belt, the Ironsides were beaten 0-21, leaving the victorious Birmingham Bulls to take the homeThe Bingham Vase – the only UK team to win a trophy from Tier 1.
Birmingham Bulls A Team Captain Andy Tsui said: “We are incredibly proud of this achievement. Seven years ago we were just four friends throwing a rugby ball around at a local park. Our weekly persistent drive towards development and growth has seen a rugby club form, and we are now reaping the rewards.”
Next up were the Birmingham Bulls B Team (inc Cardiff Lions) who smashed their way through day one, beating off Manchester Spartans B and Ottawa Wolves. Day two proved a challenge, with the Bulls marginally losing against Lisbon Dark Horses and the Southern Hemisphere Barbarians, before beating Wessex Wyverns 0-10 in Semi Final.
By the time the Final landed, the Birmingham Bulls B Team had their minds focused on the prize and were pitted against the experienced Brussels Straffe Ketten Team. Finding an inner strength and determination, the Bulls went on to win 0-15 and were declared the overall winners of the
Birmingham Bulls B Team Captain Dean Robertson said: “Many of our team members were inexperienced and we also picked up injuries during the tournament so it’s fair to say we battled against the odds to win. The thought of coming home with nothing inspired us and we got through with pure heart and determination.”
After the tournament both Bulls teams went on to celebrate their success with their new friends from around the world.
Bulls Chairman David Cumpston said: “The success we’ve had at this year’s Bingham Cup is not only a massive achievement for the club, but also a massive step forward in accepting people from the LGBT community in sport. I am proud of Birmingham Bulls and our contribution towards this movement.”
The Birmingham Bulls would like to say a massive thank you to everyone involved in their 2018 campaign, especially to the players, awesome physio Nathan, supporters and The Bingham Cup organisers and hosts.
Want to play rugby, never played before, no problem, we invite everyone regardless of ability to join the Birmingham Bulls… For more information on when and where they train visit: www.birminghambullsrfc.com