March 27, 2023 11.04 am This story is over 7 months old

Special tournament remembers much-loved rugby dad eight years on

Mike’s legacy lives on

There was emotion in the air as a special Touch Rugby tournament was held at the weekend in memory of a much-loved Lincoln man, on the eighth anniversary of his death.

Father-of-two Mike Beard, 31, sadly died when he was cycling to a rugby tournament and was involved in a collision with a school bus on March 25, 2015.

Mike was much loved by all his family and friends and everyone at Lincoln Christ’s Hospital School and Lincoln Castle Academy, where he taught rugby.

Two of the teams from the tournament – Lincoln Touch and MB All Stars. | Photo: Johanna Clements

Action from a match between Lincoln Touch and Isle Touch Rugby. | Photo: Dave Snell

After Lincoln Touch and Isle Touch Rugby competed for the first Mike Beard Lincolnshire Shield last year, it was decided to transform the event into a tournament.

Isle Touch Rugby entered two teams, while Lincoln Touch, Rotherham, Skegness, and a team named after Mike called MB All Stars all took part in the competition – see the group stage results here. Lincoln Touch won the final 2-1 against Isle Touch Rugby.

It was held at the home of Isle Touch Rugby at the Thurlow Pavilion in Epworth on March 25, 2023, exactly eight years on from Mike’s tragic death. Over £600 was raised for charity, including Team Verrico, as everyone in attendance remembered Mike.

Mike Beard set up Lincoln Touch in 2012 and his legacy continues to live on at the club. | Photo: Lincoln Touch

Lincoln Touch, who were founded by Mike, won the 2023 Mike Beard Lincolnshire Shield. | Photo: Johanna Clements

MB All Stars captain, and one of Mike’s close friends, Craig Finter welcomed Mike’s son Jack onto his team. | Photo: Dave Snell

Maksim Lema and Rob Smith from Lincoln Touch (left and second right) with Mike’s son Jack (second left) and referee Samuel Roylance (right). | Photo: Dave Snell

Mike’s family attended the tournament, including his 11-year-old son Jack who played for MB All Stars and scored two tries against Skegness.

Warren Steele from Isle Touch Rugby, who organised the tournament alongside Samuel Roylance from Nottingham Touch Hoods, said: “Isle Touch Rugby were humbled to host the Shield, which expanded to a tournament in the second year.

“With six teams and over 70 players competing for the shield, this is testament to the journey that Mike started with Touch Rugby development in Lincolnshire, and one that both myself and Sam Roylance intend to maintain.”

The tournament referees – Samuel Roylance, and Libby and Warren Steele. | Photo: Dave Snell

Players huddled together at the tournament. | Photo: Johanna Clements

Jason Divilly in action for Skegness against Lincoln Touch. | Photo: Dave Snell

The MB All Stars were captained by one of Mike’s best friends Craig Finter. | Photo: Charlie Wilcox

Craig Finter, who captained the MB All Stars team and was one of Mike’s best friends, said: “It was a great event, long may it continue.

“A huge thank you to everyone who attended and particular thanks to the refs and Mike’s extended family. It shows what a legacy the big man left that even those who never met him continue to be influenced by him.”

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