Bibby’s Olympic silver cheered in Kirkham and at family home

Dan Bibby in rugby sevens action in Rio
Dan Bibby in rugby sevens action in Rio
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All-action Dan Bibby was not the only Kirkham Grammar School old boy involved in Great Britain’s silver-winning rugby sevens success at the Rio Olympics.

Team GB conditioning coach Dan Howells was in a KGS team that boasted six England Under-18 schools players.

They included Richard Wigglesworth, who went on to be capped by England at full international level, plus Fylde’s Warren Spragg, an Italy international, and his current Woodlands team-mates Alex Loney and Chris Briers.

Also in that squad was Andi Kiryacou, who now coaches the forwards of the Russian national team, while Matt Parr played for England U19s while at Kirkham.

Parr has played for London Irish and now works as a conditioner with Premiership Leicester Tigers.

Former Kirkham GS coach Brian Gornall remarked: “The was not a bad school team and they were unbeaten.”

Bibby’s family have been celebrating his achievement in Brazil, where they won through to the final but were well beaten by the fabulous Fijians.

As the action unfolded in Rio, a full contingent of his relatives were glued to the TV screen at the family home in Aspull , in Wigan, while Dan’s sister Megan kept in touch from Greece.

Dan’s dad Andy said: “It’s just a super feeling. We’re all ecstatic.

“We spoke to Dan and he said he’s delighted. It’s an amazing feeling to be one of the very few sports people to have an Olympic medal. It’s very special.”

The vociferous support in the Bibby family home did have its downside during one of the most tense moments of Team GB’s campaign.

Andy explained that in the final minutes of the quarter-final against Argentina, Dan made a superb break for the match-winning try

He said: “We saw him go over the try-line and we were jumping around so much the screen went blurry.

“I’m not sure what happened but we lost a few seconds, and when the picture came back we’d missed Dan’s celebrations.”

Team GB went on to beat South Africa in a tight semi-final before being outclassed by Fiji in the final.

That match wasn’t on TV in Greece, where Megan works, but she was able to watch via a video call home, with a tablet held up in front of the TV screen.

Andy said: “That last game was tough because the Fijians are such a strong side and once they keep the ball it’s hard to keep them out.

“The GB lads only came together a few weeks before the tournament, whereas Fiji have been playing together for years.”

An Olympic medal contributes to an extremely busy year for ex-Fylde fly-off Bibby, who beat injury to make the Olympic squad.

The 25-year-old and his partner Kate are expecting a child next month.

Andy said: “We are absolutely made up for him because he has worked so hard for it. As a family we are extremely proud.”