Brixham coach Dan Parkes set for playing return in Dubai
Brixham player-coach Dan Parkes has re-enlisted to play for a charity side in the Dubai International Sevens.
Parkes, the former Exeter Chiefs, Plymouth Albion and Bath prop, was in the Navy for 12 years before stepping into Civvy Street to run his own sports kit firm.
But for the duration of the tournament, which continues today with the second round of matches, Parkes has joined-up again to play for the Royals.
The Royals is an ex-servicemen's charity put together by former England player Andy Gomarsall on behalf of his charity, C Group, which supports former Marines – able-bodied and war wounded – when they leave the Corps.
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Parkes has many former team-mates from the Corps – Dubai tourists Exmouth's Bob Armstrong and Topsham's Colin Milkins among them – who helped him get an invite.
Gomarsall has used his contacts in the game to lure Milkins and Armstrong, who clocked up more than 40 years' service between them, are in a squad which includes ex-England players Paul Sampson, Spencer Brown, Kevin Dunn and Derek Eaves andWelsh legends Colin Charvis and Leigh Davies out to Dubai with him.
Current servicemen in the 18-man squad include Withycombe pair Rob Toomey and Paddy Gore.
Parkes said he wondered if a case of mistaken identity had led to his inclusion in the squad, which is entered in the International Vets competition, which is ten-a-side and seven minutes each way.
"Perhaps they think I am the former Scotland stand-off Dan Parks, which will be a shock for them when I turn up," Parkes said before he left for the Emirates.
"It is nice to be included in such illustrious company."
The Dubai tournament comes during a rare window away from league rugby, which takes a break this weekend at National League level for Brixham, Newton Abbot, Barnstaple, Exmouth and Taunton.
Newton Abbot have finally completed the signing of prop Kyle Mason from Plymouth Albion. He will be available for the trip to Brixham next Saturday.
On the way out of Rackerhayes is back-five forward James Head, who has rejoined Hartpury College.
The underdogs are both going to be on the road in the semi-finals of the Tribute Cornwall KO Cup.
Bude visit Camborne from the next division up in their semi-final, while St Ives have two divisions to bridge at Wadebridge.
Both semi-finals will be played on Saturday, February 23.