U13 Rugby Tour to Devon and Somerset
The tour party gathered in the Master’s Yard looking excited yet smart in their new kit and with the weather set fair for the next few days, the prospect of playing three schools in two days was a challenge all seemed ready to embrace. First though, a two and a half hour journey was required to Devon to meet our first opponents Mount Kelly. Half way there a break for lunch was required, where sandwiches were devoured hungrily despite Mr Irving joking they might be layered with squirrel meat! During this stop the skill of flipping a water bottle and landing it perfectly upright grew force with some rather comical results. By the end of the trip Alfie Baring was clearly the best but Shonan Kirino and Rupert Miles would argue about this all day long. Samuel Gray won the award for least accurate!
On arrival at Mount Kelly the weather was perfect for running rugby and that is exactly what both teams attempted to do. Sandroyd kept in the game during the first half thanks to some heroic efforts in defence from Toby Gosse-Fordham and captain Finn Jones with Robbie Wingfield-Digby also solid on the wing. Benji Tucker played some intelligent rugby at times, bringing players onto the ball and providing William Wolseley Brinton and Stan Allfrey space to run. Mount Kelly almost scored first but a last ditch scramble meant the ball was held up and some good continuity play gave Sandroyd the opening score after 10 minutes with Oscar Shepherd burrowing over close to the line. He then followed this up with a beautiful scamper down the blind side form 40 meters before stepping the full back to score under the posts to help Tucker slot his second conversion.
The second half saw many changes for both sides with Henry Biddulph adding some aggression in the forwards and Charlie Ball manfully held his end of the scrum up. Mount Kelly pressed and pressed and crashed over in the corner after many phases. Undeterred Sandroyd carried on fighting to the end with Ralph Edwards bravely blocking a clearance kick on the last play to score the final try; 19-5 a fair result for some excellent efforts. After a brief match tea it was back to the hotel for a three course meal which was devoured hungrily and then some R&R in the rooms. After breakfast a quick training session showed that class is permanent when Mr Snell rolled back the years in a quick game of touch.
The next matches would be 25 minutes long against King’s Hall and Taunton Prep, both schools boasting much larger numbers in personnel but Sandroyd were up for the challenge. Sandroyd had to play into a strong wind both times and found the going tough, eventually losing the first match three tries to nil against King’s Hall. Taunton then started brightly and Sandroyd found themselves again three tries down but showed superb character to register a try by Benji Tucker. There were some tired bodies, some slightly battered and bruised but everyone made a positive contribution during the tour and there is promise of some exciting running rugby to come for all spectators.