Seniors and M&J tourists, memories and so much more. Why, When, Where, & Who
The RFU say going on tour is a fantastic way to build team spirit, morale and identity. It provides a rare and exciting opportunity for players and coaches to get to know each other that little bit better and helps to build teamwork both on and off the pitch.
But, allegedly. It’s about that boozy bus journey (or breakdown of) or the drunk bus driver who over indulged the night before. It’s for insomniacs to get their own back on the sleepy fatigued who close their eyes for more than 60 seconds, waking them up with a can of beer shower or worse (peace be on the club captain who’s fallen asleep was the slurred shout from tour judge). It’s about a debut in the front row because the selected player is still propping up the bar from last night, or playing stand-off because regular 10 is still asleep on bar floor after drinking with said prop. It’s about the quiet guy who no one really knows but is a regular club player who becomes a club icon following his tour antics, or following your natural instincts in shedding your cloths ending up butt naked belting out some song laden with expletives and innuendo and it’s about fulfilling arranged fixtures against your hosts, not just a jolly boy’s weekend away.
Over the years Northwich rugby club members have been enthusiastic tourists traditionally over the Easter weekend, however this date is now becoming a regular catch-up weekend for postponed winter fixtures. Combined with the ever expanding league and cup fixtures pre-season training begins in July with warm-up games in August and the Cheshire tournaments first rounds being scheduled for the August Bank holiday weekend, if teams have a successful league and cup campaign and a poor winter of cancellations games are still being played into mid-May. So the thought of arranging your own club tour to distant destinations are now daunting and an organisational nightmare if all club team members are too be involved. But if the will is there a date can still be found.
Memories & archives record the first MCCRUFC Easter tour as South Wales in 1970, the final MCCRUFC Easter tour being Berlin 1989 playing in the Olympic stadium in the West Berlin era, the following year the club changed name to Northwich RUFC where touring continued slowly changing from Easter, to end of season visiting the seaside resorts of the UK, Ireland (Galway), Europe and USA (New York).The last club tour was Surf n Turf in 2015 where 30 players travelled to Newquay, beating an RAF XV timely arranged for the end of May.
Tourists from NRUFC may be able to put names to some of the alleged, Why tour. But that notorious phrase "What happens on tour, stays on tour" remains ish.
Sadly it’s not always a happy occasion in 1996 Northwich visited Galway playing two tour fixtures one in Ballinrobe and the second against Our Ladies Boys Club at Galway Sportsground. Northwich tourist 28yr old Don Geering performed a cartwheel after scoring a try 10 minutes into the game, he collapsed immediately suffering a fatal heart attack and died on the pitch. He’d suffered with an undiagnosed enlarged heart.
In 2009 his brother Janos ran the London Marathon in Don’s memory and in aid of CRY Cardiac Risk in the Young.
2015 Northwich rugby club teamed up with CRY, to fundraise for and to hold screening sessions to pick up on any heart defects in young people. (Photo in Tour album below)
Northwich M&J section have also been prolific tourists, since formation in 1986, for any current parent reading fear ye not the Junior section tours are much less raucous, your son may be taken out of his comfort zone and become a little embarrassed at times but he will soon realise making a fool of oneself as others do is character building and will return home a more confident individual with friends for life and happy memories.
All junior teams at some point have toured not only the UK also Europe the 2007 colts visited Dublin and in 2009 NORTHWICH Rugby Club’s under 17 colts returned triumphant from an international tournament in France. The 24-strong touring party descended on the historic city of Lille for the International Festival of Rugby, hosted by RC Arras. After losing to Hereford, the young Blacks responded and put host club RC Arras and London Scottish to the sword before losing to Wirral. Northwich’s superior try count meant they qualified for the final of the bowl competition where they replayed Hereford. A Josh Holt try sealed the win.
More recently the U10 tour went to North Wales in 2017 continuing the Wales connection, 47 years later.
Alternatively, hosting a touring team provides an opportunity to play against new opposition and make new rugby contacts as the U14 did this season, hosting Huddersfield as a curtain raiser prior to the 1st team game.
2013 Northwich Veterans and the club hosted the Essex Bishops rugby team who played 26 matches across the UK in one long weekend, the Essex Bishops' Ruggerthon event set a world record and raised funds for Injured Players Foundation.
Sometimes In rugby union, a little mayhem can breakout as the "99" call was a policy of simultaneous retaliation by the Lions during their 1974 tour to South Africa. The tour was marred by on-pitch violence, which the match officials did little to control.
With that I will leave the last words to a Northwich tourist, abroad with his teammates in a bar, quote “The time for talking is over”. WHACK.