Rivals unite for inaugural Corona Cup
IT STARTED as a joke but the name has stuck - for one day at least - as two rivals battle it out to raise the inaugural Corona Cup
As the Coffs Harbour Snappers and SCU Marlins pulled out all the stops to try and get their seniors a game for 2020, the clubs were staring down the barrel of only playing a three-game series by themselves.
While they have since been able to combine their senior teams to join the New England Rugby Union competition, an idea was borne to create some silverware to play for.
It has been jokingly referred to as the Corona Cup in recognition of the tumultous few weeks which has seen the rival clubs come together to save their season.
Marlins captain and coach AJ Gilbert said it made sense to have a trophy to battle for as well as a shield for the club which wins the most games across all grades across the ultimate derby day.
"I found it strange that with such big rivalry between the two clubs we didn't have any silverware," he said.
"I think we will look back to this time in future years and think as much as we are rivals we were united trying to grow the game in the area."
Marlins president Brad Beech said the seniors game would also serve as a selection trial for the combined squads to play in the New England competition.
And while the trophy was still being referred to as the Corona Cup, after the game the trophy and shield would be named after two club stalwarts in Des Hoy and Alan 'Pottsy' Potts.
"It will have a funny name to start with but it will be named afterwards,"
"We have decided to dedicate it to two of the old boys who have been involved with the clubs."
With four sides being combined into two, the Coffs Harbour outfit to contest in the NERU competition could be formidable and Beech agrees that there will be quality across the park.
"It is going to be a very strong squad in both grades - at the moment both first grade sides are strong," he said.
"I don't think we are going to have any problem with depth and strength; it will be interesting to see who performs on Saturday."
It has been a challenging few weeks for Mid North Coast Rugby as the Snappers and Marlins were left as the only two sides looking to field a seniors team.
It led them to try unsuccessfully to enter the Far North Coast Rugby Union competition as well as the New England competition - as separate entities.
This week they were formally accepted into New England as a combined club.
The Snappers and Marlins derby day will be held at Rugby Park, 600a Hogbin Drive.
Juniors kick off at 9.30am, under 16s at 10.30am, under 18s at 11.45am, women's 10s at 12.55 and senior mens at 3pm.