This season's Dorking Colt tour was an ambitious affair as we headed off to the Far East ... Of England. Great Yarmouth to be exact.
Much debate preceded the trip regarding this year's theme. After much ado and with time running out it was decided that it should be Hillbillies. Amazon took a bit of a run on straw hats and corn cob pipes and we were on our way.
Now this is tour, so clearly I can only say so much!
Having arrived at the luxurious and prestigious Sea Princess hotel, we sampled the delights of the seaside resort, not looking too far out of place for those who made it to the Michael Jackson tribute gig.
Sun shining, we emerged the following morning for a brisk constitutional on the beach, and then made our way to Bury St Edmunds. This was always likely to be a tough match against arguably the best side in the region and so it proved. Maybe there was the hint of a late night in some legs too.
Despite a slow start we held our own for a while going try for try with the home side. Mistakes, particularly missed tackles, blighted us and cost us dearly - something we couldn't afford against such an accomplished team. At half time we were 21-12 down. Our points came from two tries and a conversion. The first followed some direct running and support from the forwards through the middle and kick ahead and chase which Theo collected to feed George Sills to score under the posts and convert his own try. The second came from Sills again, finishing off a driving maul from a lineout that had the forwards coaches purring.
We became disjointed after the break. We had picked up some injuries and Bury scored the first try of the half. However, the highlight of the match was a fine individual try from Matty Gwyther. He collected the ball in our half, chipped the Bury defence, gathered the ball on the bounce, goose-stepped two defenders and still had the energy to finish to bring the score to 26-17. We lost composure a little at the stage and conceded two late tries with match ending 40-17 to Bury. But no disgrace losing to them.
Bury St Edmunds 40 Dorking 17
Tries: Sills 2, Gwyther
Another late night passed.
Bright and early the next day we said our teary-eyed adieus to the warm welcome of the Sea Princess and made our return via Woodbridge rugby club where three 25 minute games awaited against local opposition. But not before a satisfying bacon and sausage sarnie and a glimpse at the England v Tonga match.
We first took on the home side. It was a tight match that ebbed and flowed, but two missed tackles cost us dearly giving Woodbridge a 12-0 lead. Jack Parkinson pulled a try back with a trademark break around the fringe but we ran out of time to turn this one round and we lost 12-5.
Woodbridge 12 Dorking 5
Tries: J Parkinson
Next we were up against Sudbury. They looked a decent side but the boys clearly decided it was time to blow the cobwebs away and they dispatched Sudbury with 5 tries in a 27-7 win. The first was scored by Matty following a good combination with Raich. The second came through sharp thinking from Jack who tapped quickly and the ball ended with Alfie to score. Matty scored again following good pressure and a hack on with the ball sitting up nicely. The next followed a powerful scrum, some hard running from Freddie and Dougal and Will was on hand to finish it. The last was finished by Freddie following a break by Alfie. With the try scorers tasked with trying to convert their own tries, it's fair to say there was room for improvement with only one scored.
Sudbury 7 Dorking 27
Tries: Gwyther 2, Wainscoat, King, Fownes-Walpole
The last match was against Southwold. They had some big lads in their team, but perhaps not the most mobile. We took advantage with some champagne rugby in an 8 try bonanza and a 44-0 win. Tries were scored by Matty 2, George 2, Theo, Manny 2 and Freddie.
Southwold 0 Dorking 44
Tries: Gwyther 2, Sills 2, Down, Chaffe 2, Fownes-Walpole
Cons: Wainscoat, Chaffe
That was a satisfying way to conclude the the tour.
So 2 wins, 2 defeats, but a very successful tour with the main objective being the bonding of boys from the two age groups to set us up for hopefully a fantastic Colts season.
Bury St Edmunds and Woodbridge were both great hosts - many thanks to them.
Thanks too to Patrick, our official tour photographer.
But biggest thanks go to Joe for organising the tour. He has done it for several years, but this must have been the toughest yet with various 'hurdles' to cross in the lead up.
Joe, you put on a great tour and you get the job again next year !!!