The 1st Rugby team had a hugely successful tour of Devon. We set off on the Wednesday morning before half term; the boys were dressed very smartly in their adored new kit and proudly wearing the Elstree crest on their chest. I asked a few of the boys during the tour what they were most looking forward to about this trip – there were some great answers but they unanimously said that wearing and getting to keep the team kit was something they would cherish and have a sense of pride over achieving for many years to come! You hear that phrase a lot in many different sports, ‘have pride in the shirt’. Well, this group of players certainly showed a huge amount of pride towards the pink and blue of Elstree, their families and themselves with outstanding performances throughout the season and earning their tour place and shirt. That is what the tour each year strives to do – to reward and celebrate the boys’ rugby season and inspire them to take advantage of the valuable intangibles that team sports can deliver. The team bonding, friendships and laughter that was present in every moment of the tour served to celebrate the squad’s efforts this year, and the fond memories they have taken away with them are their rewards.
There was plenty of action and activities; fun and games in the lovely Western House including a swimming pool, table tennis and pool; cricket, rugby and a dip (for some brave souls!) on the beach at Dawlish Warren; an impressive tour of Sandy Park, and some light hearted tour games (GRENADE!) served as a backdrop to the main focus.
The rugby was obviously our main priority, and it was great to watch the boys in action in perfect rugby conditions in both matches. Gillingham School changed the venue to a local rugby club and used the adult 1st team rugby pitch, which played perfectly into our hands. They had a lot of strength in the tight areas and could cause damage going through the middle. However, the wide-open pitch allowed us to exploit our speedsters and display some excellent running rugby. Gillingham School 10 – 45 Elstree School, was the final score.
Next was Okehampton College, played on a much narrower pitch and against a big squad in both size and numbers. The opening exchanges seemed close and both teams had good periods of possession. With things in the balance, Tom P decided to test how they dealt with a kicking game, and we instantly scored from it. The opposition never recovered from this and the kicking game proved very fruitful and the game was won by the end of the first half. We decided to challenge our skills and concentrate on an attacking game plan that used a fast-paced expansive passing game. The boys managed to put the pieces together and score three more outstanding team tries that showcased the exceptional rugby team that they are. It has been a privilege to coach such a fine team of sportsmen.