Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament
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The Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament or the Bingham Cup is a biennial international, non-professional, gay rugby union tournament, first held in 2002. It is named after Mark Bingham, who died on board United Airlines Flight 93 when it crashed during the September 11, 2001 attacks .
In 2002, gay and bisexual rugby union teams worldwide founded the International Gay Rugby Association and Board (IGRAB) as a body to promote rugby union as an all-inclusive non-discriminatory sport which everyone can play, regardless of sexuality.
An informal invitational tournament, held in May 2001, was formally inaugurated by IGRAB as a new international rugby union competition — a gay rugby union world cup — which in a unanimous decision by all the members of IGRAB became known as the Bingham Cup.
The tournament was named after Mark Bingham, a former University of California, Berkeley rugby star who had played in the May 2001 tournament for San Francisco Fog RFC and cofounded the Gotham Knights RFC. Bingham died in the September 11, 2001 attacks on board United Airlines Flight 93. According to Jon Barrett of The Advocate, he is generally accepted to be one of a group of passengers who fought with the hijackers aboard the flight, which eventually led to the hijackers crashing the plane into a vacant field in Pennsylvania instead of targets in Washington, D.C.. At the time of his death, there were around eight gay-inclusive rugby clubs worldwide, and he was helping to create others.
Washington invitational, 2001
The event was officially a sevens tournament among the existing IGRAB teams at the time. In addition to the tournament, there was an exhibition XVs matches. In the exhibition match between the San Francisco Fog RFC and the Renegades, the two played against each other for the first time in a XVs match. The Fog won 19-0.
San Francisco, 2002
The tournament was fashioned in the style of the Rugby World Cup, both the tournament and the cup prize were named for Mark Kendall Bingham, a club founder, with the name Bingham Cup later becoming the informal name.
Eight teams traveled to San Francisco during gay pride weekend of June 28–29, 2002 to compete over two days with the Fog coming out on top as the Cup’s first winners.
The Fog A side emerged undefeated, defeating the London Kings Cross Steelers 27-5 in the final. Alice Hoagland, Mark Bingham’s mom, presented the Fog with the trophy. The event was profiled in a two-page article in Rugby World magazine.
In May 2004, the Bingham Cup competition was hosted by London, England, club Kings Cross Steelers. From eight teams just two years prior, twenty teams from four countries were fielded for the 2004 cup, which was won for the second time by the San Francisco Fog RFC. During the 2004 cup, the Bingham Bowl Division was introduced, a middle tier award won by the Philadelphia Gryphons. the inaugural bowl was literally a bowl from the kitchen of the Esher RFC in London.
New York, 2006
Hosting of the third Bingham Cup was awarded to New York City's Gotham Knights RFC in October 2004 in a unanimous vote by the International Gay Rugby Association and Board and was held on Randall's Island in New York's East River on Memorial Day weekend, May 26–28, 2006. 29 teams from 22 clubs in 6 countries participated.
The tournament field was divided into 3 divisions, the Bingham Cup for the strongest teams, Bingham Bowl and Bingham Plate. 2006 also included the first ever Women's division, with 2 teams entering.
In March 2006, the Bingham Cup Organizing Committee announced that donations would be made to two charities: The Mark Kendall Bingham Leadership Fund, a scholarship established in Bingham's name at the University of California-Berkeley, his alma mater, and the Flight 93 Memorial Fund administered by the National Park Service to be constructed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
Over 800 registered participants from 29 teams in nine countries took part in the largest Bingham Cup tournament to date.
- Sydney Convicts (A & B)
- Muddy York (Toronto)
- Emerald Warriors (Dublin)
- Amsterdam NOP
- Austin Lonestars,
- Atlanta Bucks,
- Chicago Dragons,
- Dallas Diablos,
- Gotham Knights (New York A & B),
- Boston Ironsides,
- Los Angeles Rebellion,
- Minneapolis Mayhem,
- Phoenix Storm,
- Philadelphia Gryphons,
- Portland Avalanche,
- San Francisco Fog (A & B),
- Seattle Quake,
- Washington Renegades (A & B),
- Scottsdale Lady Blues,
- Bingham Motleys,
- World Barbarians,
Teams participating for the first time included the Cardiff Lions, the Phoenix Storm, the Portland Avalanche, the Chicago Dragons, the Amsterdam NOP, and the Minneapolis Mayhem.
The cup final was between reigning champions San Francisco Fog A and the Sydney Convicts A, who won the game 16-10. Boston Ironsides defeated the Dallas Diablos to win the inaugural Bingham Bowl. Sydney Convicts B beat the World Barbarians to win the Bingham Plate. The final standings for the tournament are as follows:
Bingham Cup Division
- Sydney Convicts A
- San Francisco Fog A
- Washington Renegades A
- Gotham Knights A
- Seattle Quake
- Kings Cross Steelers
- Los Angeles Rebellion
- Manchester Village Spartans
Bingham Bowl Division
- Boston Ironsides
- Dallas Diablos
- Philadelphia Gryphons
- Austin Lonestars
- Chicago Dragons
- Atlanta Bucks
- Portland Avalanche
- Emerald Warriors
Bingham Plate Division
- Sydney Convicts B
- World Barbarians
- Washington Renegades B
- Gotham Knights B
- Minneapolis Mayhem
- Cardiff Lions
- Phoenix Storm
- San Francisco Fog B
- Toronto Muddy York
- Amsterdam NOP
The 2008 documentary film Walk Like a Man focuses on the Sydney Convicts and San Francisco Fog as they prepare and compete for this Bingham Cup.
On December 1, 2006, IGRAB announced the success of the bid of Emerald Warriors to host the 2008 competition in Dublin Ireland. Other bidding cities included Sydney, Australia, and Paris, France. In addition, Las Vegas, Nevada, Seattle, Washington, Cardiff, Wales, and Toronto, Canada also considered bidding to host the 2008 tournament.
The fourth Bingham cup was held in Dublin on the weekend of the 13–16 June, at Dublin City University campus. 32 teams competed across four divisions (the Cup, the Plate, the Bowl and the Shield). The Sydney Convicts (A Team) took the cup back with them to Australia after winning the Cup competition for the second time in a row, this time defeating the Kings Cross Steelers (A Team) in the Cup final. The World Barbarians team, made up largely of the Nashville Grizzlies, beat the Sydney Convicts (B Team) in the Plate final. Belfast team the Ulster Titans won the shield. The Atlanta Bucks defeated the Kings Cross Steelers (B Team) in the Bowl division, making them the only North American team to win a title in this year's tournament.
On January 21, 2009, IGRAB announced that the hosting rights for the 2010 Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament had been awarded to the Minneapolis Mayhem. The tournament was held at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minnesota, June 17–20, 2010.
The Cup returned to US soil as the 2006 tourney hosts, the Gotham Knights pulled an upset win over the reigning champions, the Sydney Convicts. The 2010 tournament introduced the Crest and Spoon divisions. The Phoenix Storm won the Crest after defeating the Gotham Knights B-Side in the final. The Bingham Spoon was claimed for the first time by the Seattle Quake B when they defeated the Ottawa Wolves in the final.
It was announced on September 29, 2010, that the Manchester Village Spartans RUFC, England, would host the 2012 Bingham Cup, beating the Sydney Convicts' bid by 6 votes. Notably, Manchester's bid was actively supported by straight professional English rugby player Ben Cohen. The competition was held at Broughton Park RUFC, Manchester, June 1–3 and boasted the largest number of inclusive teams in the tournament's history.[dead link]
In August 2014, the Sydney Convicts brought the Bingham Cup competition to the southern hemisphere. Twenty-four teams traveled to New South Wales, Australia for three rainy days of competition at the home of the Woollahra Colleagues RFC. The home-town Convicts ultimately won the Cup for the second consecutive tournament.
Hosting of the eighth Bingham Cup was awarded to Tennessee's Nashville Grizzlies, marking the first time the tournament would be held in the American South. The tournament was held on Memorial Day weekend at Nashville's Ted Rhodes Park with players housed at Vanderbilt University. Forty-five teams competed for tournament prizes in twelve divisions. The winners of the twelve divisions were as follows (in ascending order):
- Challenger Julep - Chicago Dragons B
- Challenger Cup - Dallas Lost Souls
- Hoagland Spoon - Ottawa Wolves
- Hoagland Vase - Kings Cross Steelers C
- Hoagland Shield - Nashville Grizzlies A
- Hoagland Bowl - Columbus Coyotes
- Hoagland Cup - Caledonian Thebans
- Hoagland Plate - San Diego Armada
- Bingham Bowl - World Barbarians
- Bingham Shield - Washington Renegades B
- Bingham Plate - Gotham Knights A
- Bingham Cup - Melbourne Chargers A
In addition, the Nashville tournament hosted the inaugural Bingham Old Boys match & marked the first awarding of the Bingham Cane for the winning team.
|Year & Host City||Champions||Runners Up|
|2002 San Francisco||San Francisco Fog||Kings Cross Steelers|
|2004 London||San Francisco Fog|
|2006 New York City||Sydney Convicts||San Francisco Fog|
|2008 Dublin||Sydney Convicts||Kings Cross Steelers|
|2010 Minneapolis||Gotham Knights||Sydney Convicts|
|2012 Manchester||Sydney Convicts||San Francisco Fog|
|2014 Sydney||Sydney Convicts||Brisbane Hustlers|
|2016 Nashville||Melbourne Chargers||Sydney Convicts|
- "About Gotham". Gotham Knights Rugby Football Club. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
- "Person of the year: This Is Mark Bingham"; Jon Barrett The Advocate, January 22, 2002, Nos. 854-855, ISSN 0001-8996, page 41-7. Partial quote, "Mounting evidence suggests Mark had access to the information his mother was trying to get to him. Cockpit recordings support that he and others on board took amazing measures attempting to overcome the highjackers. The victims of Flight 93 have been heralded as citizen soldiers who, when faced with unimaginable circumstatces, gave their own lives to save thousands of others. Mark, meanwhile, has been singled out by the media as a gay hero."
- "Walk Like a Man" official movie site. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
- "Bingham Cup 2010". IGRAB official site. October 21, 2012.
- Ben Supports Bingham Cup for Manchester 2012, Ben Cohen official fan site
- LGBT Bingham Cup[dead link]
- Bingham Cup 2016, Official Bingham Cup Nashville