Russian Footy Carnival – Gagarin Cup 2013
Monday, April 15 2013 @ 07:41 am ACST
Contributed by: Wesley Hull
With the snow on distant hills still thawing and the sun enthusiastically beating down on Moscow, the 2013 Gagarin Cup was played this weekend in Russia.
The Gagarin Cup takes its name from the Russian Cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, who became the first human into space when he completed an orbit of the Earth in a Vostok spaceship on April 12th 1961, hence the choice of date for this weekend’s footy carnival. Cosmonautics Day, or Den Kosmonavtiki in Russian, is a national holiday in Russia.
In an enormous show of strength for the Australian Rules football code in Russia, and a shot in the arm for those who have been working so hard for years to establish the game in the country, there were 5 teams consisting of 9 per side, ranking this as one of the best days in Russian football.
According to Christopher Kenmore, player for the winning team at the event, “we had an amazing turnout…this is really promising for the future of AFL [Australian Rules] in Russia. About 50 players turned up, and we had 3 umpires. Of these players, only 5 were expats, and only 2 of those were Aussies (Roger and Steve, who played in 2 games). In the final, the 2 expat players on the Shooters team were Belgian (Jurgen and myself - well, I am half Belgian, half Scottish!) The fifth expat was an Irishman, who got injured after a minute and a half.”
“Two of the teams were juniors, who also play some rugby. They are about 16 years old, and are progressing handsomely. A year ago, they had little skill and ran around like aggressive headless chickens, but today, after some great coaching by Fyodor, they are looking like they could turn out to be the real thing. Only the maturity and experience of the Shooters team did it for them. The kids remain aggressive (in a [committed] sporting manner). Kudos must go to Fyodor for bringing them on and also to Roger Scott, President of AFL Russia, for bringing this whole tournament together.”
Without question, this is exactly what AFL Russia needed to kick off their new season.
The final was played between the Moscow Shooters and the Moscow Slava, with the Shooters running out convincing winners in the end 25 to 6.
The Cosmic Pirates also played in the carnival, along with two other teams created for the event, the The Bees team and Cherkizon, to accommodate the extra playing numbers and interest. Certainly the people at AFL Russia must be delighted to see all of the clubs from previous years back again as well as the nucleus for more teams in the future.
Full scores are as follows:
The Bees 20 d Cherkizon 13
Shooters 24 d Cosmic Pirates 15
Slava 7 d Cherkizon 6
Slava 15 d Cosmic Pirates 8
Shooters 25 d The Bees 8
Cherkizon 15 d Cosmic Pirates 0
The crew in Moscow can take a bow, and a deep breath, as they now consider the success of the Gagarin Cup and plan for whatever else they can achieve throughout the rest of 2013, including the hoped for appearance of the Russian Czars at this year’s Euro Cup in Bordeaux.