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Bridgehaugh Park

 


SCRFC Minis Tour #Ireland 2018

Top o’ the morning to ye!

As you will know by now, we had a fun packed weekend. We were all pretty tired on arrival back to Bridgehaugh, which is a sign that a great time was had. Once the bumps and bruises of a tough rugby weekend have gone, the memories on what has been a fantastic experience will last – hopefully for a lifetime.

Firstly, on behalf all the Tour coaches, I would like to say how impressed we were with all the Tourists; their behaviour was a credit to themselves, to their coaches, to Stirling County RFC club, and especially to you as their parent/guardian. Many of the people and coaches we met on our travels commented on how mannerly and polite they all were. It was a pleasure for us as a coaching group to look after them all weekend and made our lives a lot easier.

We arrived at Lorne, very excited, and following settling into our rooms we enjoyed some of the fantastic homebaking – thanks again to everyone for their amazing and very tasty treats – and a drink. Lorne was a fantastic venue and the staff were all friendly and helpful.

To start the Tour off, we had an excellent training session, although very wet, cold and muddy with Malone RFC on the Friday night. This did prepare us well for the Armagh City RFC Festival on the Saturday. Malone’s coaches and staff looked after us brilliantly, game coaching the Tourists into the IRFU rules. Games were hotly contested, and rugby was certainly the winner. I can’t thank Malone and all their staff enough for their amazing hospitality – we were treated like Royalty. Long may this club friendship go on with their Minis hoping to return to Bridgehaugh in the near future.

Back at Lorne House, the dorms and tents worked well, with the Tourists having lots of friends together… even if it did mean it was a little bit later going to sleep… fortunately they were all knackered from the early start so they weren’t up too late. The breakfasts at Lorne were fantastic, with all enjoying cereal and a bacon roll, or cereal and pancakes on the Sunday! They also had to clear up their plates and rubbish which they did brilliantly – so no more excuses at home ;-)

Saturday was all about the Blitz Festival at Armagh City RFC with many of the local teams attending as well as some from as far away as Dublin. The bagpipers were excellent, really making the Tourists feel like they were on a different level – you can see from the pictures that our chests are puffed up and proud to represent Stirling County and Scotland. The singing of Flower of Scotland was superb, and we have had comments from locals who were really impressed with both our rugby and our “added extras”. Armagh are a really strong team, but on the pitch our players did themselves proud, with many fantastic teamwork and tries scored by our P5s and some really excellent tackling by the P6s which the opposition teams especially couldn’t cope with. They handled both the ferocity of the Irish teams and the change in rules brilliantly all day. The P7 games had our opposition chasing ghosts with excellent passing and offloading. I don’t want to single anyone out, as they all really excelled themselves and gave 120%! A comment from one of the coaches was that “we should tour every weekend!” Although I am not volunteering to organise this ;-)

The coaching team were very proud of the way the Tourists handled the change in rules. At times, we played some sublime rugby which was a delight to watch. The players never complained about the rules nor questioned the referees, which was a credit to their excellent attitude and showed in the numerous trophies brought back for overall fair play, quality of rugby and the enthusiasm of our supporters – something that we should think about for our own Home Tournament.

A great morning of rugby finished with a very proud first moment in Stirling County RFC’s history when the U12 Girls took to the pitch for their first ever Tour match. gain the pipers announced their arrival and led them proudly to the pitch. There was hardly a dry eye in the coaching team and supporters, especially when we saw the quality of rugby they were playing. gain some outstanding performances, with girls who had played earlier with the Minis giving everything they had in the last game of the Tour. We hope that the U12 girls continue to Tour with the Minis – there is a lot of cross over between the teams and they were certainly a very welcome part of the Tour; they certainly don’t look out of place on the pitch together.

After the Festival on Saturday, we had a private cinema screen to ourselves, which was really cool with popcorn and a juice (and Right Honourable Judge Mackin approved some well-deserved shut eye time for the coaches).

On Sunday we went to Eddie Irvines, for what can only be described as a brilliant day of fun for everyone. Go-karting, laser quest, race simulators & football pitches for running around playing games – what more can a kid ask for! This was only topped by Cosmo where everyone loved the food, and there were a few sore bellies by the time we had to force people out after having too many platefuls! You can see the pictures, you’ll have heard the stories and you will know we had a fabulous time.

What can I say about Tour court? Nothing - what goes on in Tour court, stays in Tour court!

Monday was an early start, and another ferry journey. The Tourists were too tired on the boat to entertain a quiz or team meeting, so we just had relaxation time with the girls playing cards and some of the boys sleeping. A quick stop at the beach at Ayr, and that was Tour done for another year.

What can I say about the bus journeys other than make sure if you come with us next time to bring your ear plugs. I must also apologise to the shops we visited for the level of Haribo’s and Pick’n’Mix consumption.

We have loads of pictures, and I hope you all enjoyed the Twitter feed – sometimes we just had to post things that made us laugh, so sorry if they bombarded you but we felt sharing is caring! We are thinking of having a night at the club to celebrate the tour – date to be confirmed - and maybe have a slide show, with some of the antics talked through by the Tourists. This could be our first fundraising event for next year!

Personally, I would like to thank the coaching teams for all their work over the weekend, and for never losing their sense of humour, even in tour court; on the bonus side, I now have another nice new hat. Thanks also go to Alasdair McKay for assisting with the Bagpipers and Drummers - this adds a different level to the entrance to the Tournament and everyone who saw them has commented on how impressed they were - we will need more volunteers for next year... so get practising! Another unsung Hero is Campbell “the ambulance” Stanners, who is now known by first name at the Royal Vic hospital in Belfast – thanks Campbell, Annie, Emily and Sid for looking after the kids so well.

Once again, I would like to say how happy we, as a coaching team, were over the entire weekend – and how very, very proud… at times we felt like Stirling County Minis could take on the world if they wanted to. It was a delight to take them, and they made all our weekend’s an absolute pleasure.

Finally, massive thanks must go to our travelling support – on the tour, and throughout the season. It means a massive amount to the players, and to the coaching staff to know you are with us, and great to see some friendly faces…. especially those who made the trip over to Ireland and Armagh – I trust you enjoyed the local hospitality – that’s nice!

#350sleeps until Wales!

PS We have a number of items (that were un-named!!!) that we will bring to training on Saturday... hopefully someone will claim them.



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