Buccs score a winner off pitch with “strictly scrum dancing”

Buccaneers RFC staged a spectacularly successful “STRICTLY SCRUM DANCING – the Buccs way” on Friday and Saturday last at Athlone’s Sheraton Hotel.

The event drew large attendances on both nights with standing room only at the second show. The 32 dancers put in terrific performances on both nights, capitalising on their intensive training and coaching but also encouraged greatly by most supportive audiences nightly as family, friends and those simply in need of a good evening’s entertainment on Valentine’s weekend clapped and cheered them on from start to finish.

The club is hugely indebted to everyone involved in the colourful production, particularly to the 16 pairs of dancers who gave it their all in preparation and then live on stage in front of highly appreciative audiences. The quality of dancing on show was not only a reflection on the hard work put in by the dancers but also the tutoring and mentoring of choreographer Lorraine Wynne and her assistants at Midland Drama Schools. MC Sean Og Hurley, witty and debonair, kept the show flowing at a lively tempo and the celebrity judges; Teresa Mannion, Anne Hoey, Pete Casey, Dessie Dolan, Noel Mannion and Ray Collins, were entertainingly positive and encouraging in their adjudicating.

The back room crew also contributed immensely to the occasion. Roisin Carlin and her staff at Medussa Hair Studio did the hair-styling while Christine Mannion and the girls from Eden Beauty looked after the make-up with assistance from Anne O’Sullivan – – – and not just for the female dancers! Top class sound and lighting was provided by Altec Sound & Lighting, while the staff at the Sheraton Hotel were massively supportive throughout.

On behalf of Buccaneers, club president Joe Browne thanked all the above, especially the dancers who “had shown great energy and commitment. They were a fantastic group of characters who brought an added buzz to the club”. He noted the support of the event’s main sponsor BRIDGE TRANSITION, without whose generous patronage the extravaganza could not have taken place. Those who took adverts in the club’s ‘Strictly Souvenir Programme’ were thanked as were the donors of spot prizes while special gratitude went to everyone who sponsored the various dancers. He also thanked everyone who came along on both night’s to support both the dancers and the club.

He continued that a small organising committee had put huge time and effort into getting the show up and running with Buccaneers Administrator Geraldine Kenny putting her heart and soul into the event. “Where would Buccs be without her?” he remarked. The Bounty and Athlone GAA were also thanked for providing facilities where the dancers could practice. Michael Silke and KPW Printers were complimented on producing an excellent souvenir programme.

Overall, ‘Strictly Scrum Dancing – the Buccs way!’ surpassed expectations both on and off the stage. Whilst the club’s coffers will get a much-needed boost, the social aspect of the show should not be underestimated as new friends were made and old acquaintances firmed up.

The final pairing on Friday night, Chara Schultz and Nicky Purcell, took the top honours with their Contemporary Dance. Niamh Gough and Kolo Kiripati were runners-up with their colourful Bollywood effort while Veronica Byrne and Richard Frank, the only couple using props in their dance, took third place. On the packed Saturday show two longtime stalwarts of the club, Frances McVeigh and ‘Big’ Pat Hynes emerged triumphant with their personalised take on the Waltz. They were hugely emotional but extremely popular winners on the night when lively duo Sheree Hanlon and Paschal Dillon took second place with their Quickstep, ahead of the very consistent pairing of Niamh and Kolo who finished third on this occasion. Majella Murray/Mickey Nugent and Erica Kelly/Nino Magliocco were other pairings who could well have featured among the prize-winners. But, in truth, all the dancers were winners for their wonderful commitment and endeavour shown. Buccaneers certainly owes them all a great debt of gratitude. THANK YOU, GIRLS AND GUYS!

There will be a celebratory get together of all involved shortly in The Bounty when a DVD of the show will be screened. Copies of the DVD will also be available to anyone who wishes to have a souvenir of ‘STRICTLY SCRUM DANCING – the Buccs way!’