The early May bank holiday weekend saw Kingsbridge Rugby Football Club U15s travel to the Netherlands on tour.
The trip was the culmination of a year’s fundraising in which a number of events, including a garden party, biathlon, clothes sale, cycling and rowing to Netherlands on static machines and the Christmas Ball at Thurlestone Hotel, had been held.
The boys and parents left Kingsbridge at midnight and travelled through Friday to arrive at Centre Parcs, 40km from Amsterdam. A four-hour delay outside Antwerp did not dampen spirits and everyone settled in ready for the rugby in the morning,
An early start saw the team travel to our hosts Eeemland RFC who, in addition to Kingsbridge, were hosting Farnham RFC who were also on tour.
In glorious sunshine the boys took to the pitch in their pink tour kit kindly sponsored by Dr Property and Clearwater Financial. The tour kit was set off nicely by a range of comedy hair styles and colours. The parents joined in with a tweed theme on display by all.
Once the rugby got going the boys were soon playing expansive, flowing festival rugby enjoyed by all.
A hard-fought victory in the first game against the touring Farnham side was only marred by injury to Harry Burner and a broken nose for Ben Leetham, who had the pleasure of visiting accident and emergency Dutch-style.
As the adults made friends with our Dutch hosts over the barbeque, the boys took to the pitch against Eemland RFC.
In a competitive game, the Dutch team edged the game by a try, much to the delight of the home crowd. A further game was played, mixing up teams in a true festival of rugby.
A happy bunch of tourists left Eemland to enjoy the Centre Parcs facilities after a fantastic day of rugby both on and off the pitch.
On Sunday the team were hosted by Hook of Holland RFC. Although tired from the night before, a rousing team talk from senior club captain Ben Glover saw the boys inject pace and controlled intensity into the game to edge it from the hosts.
A return to Centre Parcs and the water slides rounded off a perfect day.
As the bus arrived back in Kingsbridge the following evening, all agreed the tour had been an outstanding success, allowing not only some great rugby to be played but forming lifelong friendships among team members, parents, and hosts alike.
The success of the tour was down to all entering the spirit of the tour, but it would not have been possible without the tireless fundraising by many parents.
Special thanks also to coaches Chris Blake, Chris Wotton, Ben Glover, and team manager Karen Bewley, who ensured all ran smoothly.