Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Finchley U14s Rugby Tournament at Bournemouth

Over the holiday break, the Finchley Rugby Club were to be playing in a seriously big Rugby Tournament:  132 teams of U14 players!

Steve went along as one of the parent/supervisors. They loaded the boys and parents onto the bus, and headed off on their roadtrip to Bournemouth (England's largest coastal resort towns)

Resort town!? For rugby?

I was suspicious that it was going to be no work and all play!

steve's idea of a chalet...

My suspicions were heightened when Steve told me they were staying in a chalet!

Now... for those of us who grew up in the rockies, the word chalet evokes a particular kind of structure... one with a fireplace and maybe a loft. 

The British idea of a chalet
In british terms, 'chalet' has a slightly different meaning.
It appears to be another name for 'caravan' or maybe 'mobile housing structure'...hundreds of them in a row.

Uh... not quite like staying in the chalets at Lake Louise or Jasper, sitting around a warm fireplace roasting marshmallows. 

Still, he reports, a good time was had by all! (at least by all the parents who got beds, rather than being relegated to the mini couch or floor!)

I did ask for details, but he said "What happens in Bournemouth, stays in Bournemouth!"  :-)

I was a bit worried that they had been living the 'fast life', but he told me such a life would have been impossible:  there were distinct speed limits imposed.  He showed me this photo as proof!  

How do you come up with this kind of speed limit?!   Not "10", not "9", but something somewhere in between?   Or did the planners (mis)spend too many weekends mis-spent watching Mickey Rourke and Kim Bassigner in their 1980s classic film, "Nine 1/2 Weeks?"  

Certainly there was rain, and I couldn't help but feel a bit sorry for the poor bedraggled looking parents/coaches on the side of the field. 

... and yet... they boys just kept on playing!

In spite of arriving home with a cold (steve) and a pulled hamstring (alex), all went well. 

Alex also came home with the Finchley plaque for the "man of the tour" and a rubgy ball signed by all the players on his team.  Nice!

Below is the report on the match posted to the Teamer site by the coach, Aiden.

posted Tue 17-Apr-2012 11:05 PM BST by Aiden Norris

Firstly I’d like to thank the tour players whose behaviour on the tour was impeccable, which is a credit to both them and their parents. Secondly I’d like to thank everyone involved in the tour from the work Ali did arranging it, to the parents who came on the tour and inherited various roles and responsibilities from ‘chalet leads’ to parents who gave up ‘drinking rights’ to stay dry in case of emergencies. It was the help and assistance of everyone involved that made the tour a fun time for the lads.

Bournemouth Festival:  As we had to register at 08:30 and it was over an hour from the park, the lads got at early call at 06:30 to get ready for the day ahead. At 07:15 we were ready to leave the lads all looking very smart dressed up all wearing white shirts/Finchley ties etc. The weather was showing signs of being really nice with a blue sky.......how wrong we were.

We arrived got registered and the black skies started to show signs of what was in store. The first game kicked off v Oadby Wyggestonian. Al scored an early individual try but we soon started to realise the standard of rugby at the tournament was probably some of best we had experienced. We ended up losing the 1st game 5-20.

At this stage the heavens opened and the coaches/players/kit and everything outside was drenched. We lost the next game v Old Northamptonians 0-20 with one player for them scoring all 4 tries.
We then had a long break before our next game v Cowbridge - the reigning champions. No matter how much the coaches were trying to keep the lads warm, with wet kit and a cold wind they were beginning to freeze. We Lost 5-35. Highlight of the game was Saxton's champagne moment, with a grubber kick through the backs following up with a great take to go over for a fantastic try.

Our last game of the day was versus the hosts Bournemouth. We realised very early on in the game that they weren’t the most gracious of hosts with a few late tackles and off the ball incidents which led to our tour manager giving their number 10 ‘a jolly good telling off’. We only just lost 5-10 with a great performance from some very tired weary players and a great try from Jack. Some well earned showers, dry clothes and burgers and chips at this stage put some smiles back on their faces (photo’s are on teamer of them all dressed smartly in Bournemouth clubhouse) 

That evening we went out for a great meal at the Sunray and the coaches presented the following tour trophies: 
Players player – Saxton Stout
Coaches player ‘runner up’ – George Beckman
Coaches Player – Eytan Merkier
Tour Player – Alex Carter (Also awarded a signed Rugby Ball from all the tour players as a parting gift), Burleigh Travel Tourist Trophy at Weymouth RFC 

The next day wasn’t such an early start and we were all packed up and ready to go at 09:30 for a 10:00 start at Weymouth Rugby Club. The weather was glorious and when we got there by the looks of the ground, Weymouth had completely missed the rains of yesterday.  This didn’t bode well with the team as unfortunately every member appeared to be suffering from some sort of injury.  
With the amount of injuries being declared we were just able to get a bare 15 on to the pitch against Cheshunt. You could see every step taken on the hard ground a painful one. We Lost 0-15 and the lads were already hurting and weary.

It took Matt to take the bull by the horns and give the lads a ‘Churchill-like’ talking to after the match. “I don’t care if you only play 5 mins......just get on and do one thing during the game and do it well, be it a tackle, catch, run whatever”

We then played Oadby Wyggestonian and lost 5-32. The score not reflecting the hard fought match brought on by Matts rousing speech and another great try by Jack. We now had players removing tracksuit tops/bottoms forgetting their injuries and asking the coach to go on to the pitch.

Our last match v Weymouth kicked off and Finchley had now regained their fighting spirit. It was a very close game only losing in the last couple of minutes 15-17. We earned a bonus point with Jack scoring one try and Al coming on and scoring two and we nearly clinched the game with a determined drive from George at the end dragging half the Weymouth team down the pitch towards to the try line with the referee blowing for full time with Finchley 10 yards short of it.

We were awarded a win v Chepstow as they had pulled out of the tournament after the previous days Rugby. Obviously they don’t have a coach that can inspire a very weary set of players or they don’t have a team of players that will play their hearts out even when the chips are down. The coaches couldn’t have been more proud of their players who gave their hearts all weekend. Well done lads!

For we are Finchley
and we will beat you ... nearly
for nearly is as close as we can get


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