Hurricane Sevens brings rugby back to the beach

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Rugby originated in England in the 19th century. For those in America who may still be unfamiliar with the sports, imagine the option offense without pads.

That's how one player described the action at Saturday's Hurricane Sevens, the 19th event of its kind hosted by the Panama City Beach Hurricanes.

A mix of men's and women's teams traveled to Aaron Bessant Park from all over the south east. Tampa, Baton Rouge, and Atlanta fielded teams, with one side coming from all the way from Knoxville, Tennessee.

Although rain and lightning disrupted play towards the end of the day, the weather and strong field of competitors makes Hurricane Sevens worth the trip.

"It's known to be a good time," Hurricanes captain Brian Sharp said. "I think part of it is the weather. Part of it is just the environment that we have down here. This tournament is known to be a lot of fun to play in."

Although the Hurricanes practice once a week, big matches with teams from out of state are few and far between. The scenario is similar for the traveling teams, making this a tournament everybody would love to win.

"Some guys played in high school. Some played high school rugby. Some guys played in college. Some guys didn't start playing until their thirties or forties," Sharp said. "We really want to have a good showing at our home tournament."

The second side entered from Panama City won the weather-shortened championship 7-0.