As expected, the accommodation didn’t offer any surprises except to Alan, Lou, Dan and Willie, who found their chalet had already been let out to strangers!
Friday night was the usual mix of sensible eating and peaking too early. Were the black Sambucas really necessary chaps?
We had an early start Saturday, having to be at Rye Rugby Club for a 9.25 kick off. Somehow we all made it well before kick off, despite some of us waiting in the wrong place for the complimentary coach.
Our matches on Saturday morning were to be against St Neots, Deal & Betteshanger, Upminster Sharks and Banbury. We started strongly against St Neots, running out 12-5 winners, playing some good rugby, strong rucking much in evidence. We hit our stride against Deal & Betteshanger running out convincing 17-0 winners (although the ref managed to score it the other way round). Upminster had brought 2 strong teams with them and were scoring points at will. However, we fronted up really well and the 0-20 scoreline did not reflect the possession we had. With the boys visibly tiring (it had now become really warm), we played a strong Banbury side. We scraped home 7-5 against another strong team, to end the day having won 3 lost 1.
Saturday afternoon was spent either on the beach, watching the Mighty Quins’ famous victory or just experiencing the delights of Pontins. After BBQs, pub dinners (although not in Eric’s case) and seafood restaurants, some of us prepared for the 70s night. Punk rockers, afros, pimps, and flares to the fore, we made our way to the ‘Fun’ Factory, where we chatted to people we either did or didn’t recognise through their disguises. Needless to say it got a little messy and the tour rule of not going to bed on the same day as you got up seemed to be strictly adhered to.
Another early start on Sunday, (first match 9.00!!!) and despite being woken by the 3.30am fight outside we all (apart from Jack C) made it in time for the first game. A decent 19-0 victory over Old Yardleians put us on track again for a successful morning. We followed that with a 20ish-0 victory over Woodford. It was in this game that Will Walker suffered a nasty head clash with Jamie’s curls, off to the First Aid tent he went, expected to be suffering with a broken nose, cheek etc. However, he returned pitchside with an ice pack and the start of a shiner. Our 3rd match was against Upminster Rhinos and despite conceding 2 very dubious tries (“it was like the red sea”- NOT) we battled well in a 0-17 defeat. By the time we played Welwyn in the last match we were visibly shot to pieces. However, Will was back in the fray, seemingly oblivious to his headclash, running tirelessly for the cause. The 10-5 victory meant that overall we had Played 8, Won 6 and lost 2. We had finished 3rd overall.
Everyone played superbly well, with George and Remy leading the team well. Will Walker showed his resolve by playing on after his nasty shock and Daniel played his best ever Rugby.
And so it was onto the beach for the end of season awards presentation. Harry received the most improved player award, George the coaches player of the year and Dominic the players’ player of the year. All very well deserved.
Sunday night was presentation night at Pontins and we waited a good hour before our turn. Ex-England prop Jeff Probyn was handing out the awards and was visibly shocked at Jobber’s remark about Askeans! Was it Jeff who piled Jobber’s bed up with Garden furniture on our return?
Needless to say I have omitted many things from this report (Milo camping it up far too realistically, for one) as the old adage applies (what goes on tour stays on tour) apart from in Milo’s case!
Another season ends on a high. Good luck next season to the new(ish) coaching team and especially the players.You showed on tour, just what you are capable of.