U15 2017 tour to France
SRFC U15 recently returned from a very enjoyable three day tour to Lille, France. The main purpose of this article is to share photos from the tour, however a few words of intro:
On the last weekend of the Easter school holidays, 24 players and 7 adults enjoyed a great tour in and around Lille. After an early start for all, we drove to Dover to catch the ferry to Calais, and from there a drive to Lille. After the tight streets of Lille had tested the skills of our excellent coach driver, we arrived at our accommodation: an award winning hostel with a lively bar on the ground floor, set in the old town part of Lille. Knowing that the lads needed to burn energy after such a trip, a wander across to a local park for a hour of cardio and touch rugby enabled the players to get rid of the coach journey from their legs and for the coaches to start to think about how to approach the game on Saturday.
Saturday was a full day and it started far too early for many of our 14 and 15 year olds! Nevertheless, after the complexities of bread, cheese and ham had been safely negotiated we headed off to a high ropes activity centre and the boys (plus Matt and Russ) burned enough energy off in the 2.5 hours to merit a cobbled together and very welcome lunch of bread, cheese and ham (what else!). Our journey then continued to Bailleul, with a brief trip through Belgium, where the local club had kindly agreed to host us for an afternoon match. Sporting a bespoke shirt tour kit designed by the players, incorporating green and white (of course), but primarily bright pink (for shock and awe effect I assume!) we had opportunity to field a constantly rotating squad of 23 and attempt to take some of our recent excellent form onto a rugby pitch in France. Many thanks to Bailleulois XV club, who not only provided us with a very warm welcome and an enjoyable game, but also hosted us after the game with great generosity. If there is ever an opportunity to reciprocate then we would gladly do so. Following the game we returned to Lille ahead of an evening meal in a local restaurant and then some 'court' activities.
Sunday. Well the squad had a few 'waking up' issues on Sunday (surprise!) but evenso we managed to get everyone through breakfast and away on time to head back to Calais for the ferry. A magical mystery tour on the UK side due to closure of the M3 meant further opportunities to test the skills of our driver, who coped fantastically as ever, and we arrived back early evening on Sunday with 31 tired souls!
As has been said on group email, many thanks indeed to Steve for putting the tour together and for troubleshooting various admin issues while we were away. Thanks to Dave and Rich for their dedication to making sure that the boys had a full tour experience. And to my fellow touring adults who made sure we didn't lose any boys and that we put 'fun' at the centre of the tour.