SAC's sports turf expert Malcolm Clapperton is shunning the flooded pitches of Scotland and flying to the sun of Dubai to play international sevens rugby at the largest event of it's kind in the world. While 16 top international teams battle it out in the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens, numerous other international and local club competitions will be taking place. Malcolm is playing for the Wooden Spoon Blues in the International invitation tournament running alongside the IRB Sevens World Series event on 3rd to 5th December.
Malcolm's day job involves advising local authorities and sports administrators on the fine points of pitch or course design and construction. Just now SAC's Environment and Design department is working on the redevelopment of Falkirk RFC's pitches at Sunnyside and reconstructing pitches at Hamilton RFC. There are similar community sports development projects in Aberdeen, Lasswade and Inch Park, Edinburgh.
Malcolm began specialising in sports facility design when injury cut short his dreams of professional rugby. As a consultant with SAC he has a large variety of clients from private clubs to major local authority developments. He still plays club rugby with Boroughmuir which, he explains, keeps him closely in touch with turf at the weekends as well as weekdays!
Now though he is looking forward to joining more than 2000 players converging for the three day competition running alongside the IRB Series. 164 teams will play in 11 tournaments all of which will take place on the surrounding pitches. Last year The Wooden Spoon Blues got to the final of the Invitation Tournament and aiming one better this year. The Blues is the invitation team representing the Wooden Spoon Society Charity:
"At Wooden Spoon, we believe all that all children and young people deserve the chance to live happy fulfilled lives regardless of the challenges they may face". Said Malcolm Clapperton, Spoon harnesses the spirit and values of rugby to give disadvantaged children and young people in the UK and Ireland a chance to achieve their full potential in life".
All the IRB Series games take place on the main pitch from December 4-5. But on December 3 (the first day of the tournament which is free of charge to the public) the stage will belong entirely to the club and invitational sides. Should they make it to the trophy final for their competition they will play on the main pitch in front of a crowd of 50,000 people.