Police and Suva rugby security officers worked overtime at Albert Park yesterday during the Fiji Bitter Escott Shield semi-finals. The big crowd that came to witness the semi-finals and final of the U20 and Koroturaga competition were the biggest ever seen during the Suva rugby club competition this year. Police and security officers had to chase fans from pulling down the cover as they tried to get a free view of the match from outside the ground. Suva rugby officials expect a much bigger crowd next week in the Escott Shield final.
Naitasiri coach Reverend Joji Rinakama was among rugby fans at Albert Park in Suva yesterday. It was announced during the game between DHL Raiwaqa and Fres'et Navy that the curtain-raiser to the Escott final next week will be the clash between Suva and Naitasiri. The two teams are preparing for their Farebrother-Sullivan Trophy challenge against Nadroga. Flying Fijians head coach Inoke Male was also among spectators at the ground.
A crew from the Fiji Broadcasting Commission Television (FBCTV) were at the ground to film the Escott Shield semi-finals between Army and Police and also between Raiwaqa and Navy. Top rugby commentator Graham Eden made live commentary of the two games and it was announced that the games would be later shown on FBC TV. The appearance by FBC TV crew ensured that the semi-finals was covered well by the media as those from radio, print and online were also there.
A meeting was called for all ex-Suva rugby reps to start preparations for the 100th year of the Escott Shield competition next year. The ex-Suva reps were called to their first meeting straight after the match between Raiwaqa and Navy. The trophy was given by Sir Ernest Bickham Sweet-Escott the British colonial administrator and governor in Fiji in 1913. That year the Escott Shield was won by the Pacific Club and it was contested by clubs formed by expatriates working in Suva at that time.