KIAMA RUGBY SEVENS
Rain bucketed down for most of the day and the wind never stopped howling, but the action on the field was red-hot at Saturday's Kiama Rugby Sevens.
The Brisbane Fijians claimed the major prize with a 26-14 triumph over Southern Districts in the Cup final, while Parramatta beat Shandong Chinese 12-7 in a hard-fought women's Vase final.
Organisers of the annual tournament weren't sure if the unfavourable weather would affect the playing standard - let alone the gate takings - but they need not have worried.
"The crowd was still good and the footy was great," event spokesman Mark Bryant said.
"Actually, the standard's really improved over the past couple of years, that's the big thing.
"It was tough conditions and windy all day, but everyone said it was the best football they'd seen.
"The crowd was in great spirits.
"We almost had the same turnout as last year over the course of the day."
Bryant said the visiting Shandong Chinese team enjoyed their maiden Kiama Sevens and hoped to be back.
Fifty-four teams took part in the popular seaside tournament, including Illawarra clubs Shoalhaven, Bowral, Engadine, Avondale and Kiama.
Randwick beat Tupou Old Boys 10-5 in the Bowl final, the Chargers from Sydney accounted for the Scott Fava-coached Northshoremen 26-10 in the Plate final, while Jindabyne Bush Pigs claimed the Country Cup with a 12-0 victory over Scone.