What a weekend!!!!! Endless fun from Friday morning through until Monday.
The first whatsapp text kicked off at 6.04am on Friday wondering about a tour t-shirt. From then on, we saw constant text about going to Heathrow Terminal 2 or Gatwick and we even had somebody asking whether the campsite provided complimentary toilet paper! I am sure these must have driven Gareth (mini chairman & IOW organiser) crazy ha ha. Credit goes to Gareth for all his hard work and to those who worked along with him to make 2017 IOW an amazing and memorable trip for everybody.
All discussions then turned to the A3 or M3 traffic and accidents. (Thank you to everyone who left early Friday and helped keep an eye on traffic updates to avoid any long delays.)
The ferry was running late but that was of no concern as it just gave us a chance to meet a few more families in the car park and on the ferry. When we arrived at the park it was nice to see so many familiar face but not in their usual attire as it was Fancy Dress Night! You name them and we had all of them!!, Catwoman, Axeman, Captain America, etc etc. Super heroes EVERYWHERE!
We had everything we needed, familiar faces we see almost every Sunday morning for around 9months of the year and a bar! No invitation required, just join in at the bar. I am sure all the kids had a great fun emptying parent’s pockets that night. I am not sure how much we spent on those machines (And I’m not sure I want to know!!, but all we got to show for it was 4 flimsy model aeroplanes. The kids enjoyed having their own space to run around and entertain themselves and that was the most important thing!
In front of the bar it was full of WRFC parents in all their fancy-dress clobber! Someone mentioned on whatsapp that everyone will leave the bar when we all turn up, so no need to reserve any areas and I think that’s exactly what happened. It looked like the whole area in front of the bar was reserved for WRFC!. The bar manager would have been very pleased with their takings that night and we collectively can pat ourselves on the back for that (although Robbie deserves a special mention as I don’t think I saw him all night without at least 1 drink in his hands!!) Drinks and conversation flowed and I am sure everybody had a great night especially the kids running around in costumes and making campsite owners richer.
Saturday morning saw some hangovers on the beach and some whose alarm clocks seem to have malfunctioned! But by midday most were on the beach in their tour tops. It was a lovely sight to see all the families in the different colours. What an absolutely fantastic crowd.
It didn’t take too long before competitions started off with a bit of beach rugby. There were a few teams and it started off quite jovial with some touch rugby, Dad V dads, dads V lads, and also each age group competing against each other. After a couple of matches, it was actually the kids that turned the heat up! What had started as a simple and jovial tap rugby game was then overrun by the kids as the dads began to slope off the pitch to soak up some more sun taking a detour to the bar area to finish off the previous night’s drinking session of course!
Then it was time to go back to the caravan park, the kids went straight in the pool whilst us parents went to the bar again ensuring alcohol levels were maintained (For medical reasons only of course haha).
Despite the Saturday weather forecast looking a little gloomy we had a fantastic day out with some sunny intervals. It was a great atmosphere all day amongst our crowd and we were all looking forward to another stellar evening!
Saturday Big Booze Night Time!! Most people back in their caravans getting ready for Saturday night, no fancy dress though just in our usual civvies. Surrounded by familiar faces in front of the bar, our familiar place, second night running, de ja vu!. Some arrived late at the bar but did their best to catch up with those drinkers who had been there from around 7pm! Most of the kids were in bed around 9/10pm and although I’m sure us adults all knew fresh in our minds that we had a big games day the next morning it didn’t seem to slow down the drinking until the late hours again. Hangovers or not everybody must have had a wonderful night again judging by the size of our crowd that were still at the bar in the late hours. Another Great Night!
Sunday morning, the biggest day of the tour. All the kids could not wait to get there. It was not that easy to find parking, but everyone arrived more or less on time. Just time to warm up and get the engines running. Excitement was building and everybody was keeping a close eye on their watches to see how much time left before the first game. Parents eager to see their boys running on the pitch. Parents walking up to the touch line and the coming back realising there is another game on before ours starts. Just shows how much we love this game and how much we enjoy watching our kids play rugby.
Home or Away we always seem to be the loudest spectators! Parents cheering on all the boys and some wanting to be coaches giving instructions from the touch line. One side of the pitch Scott watching the game with his hand tied up to his chest, and Robbie stamping his feet with frustration after a missed tackle. At half time, Scott and Robbie feed the boys with more information and pat them on the shoulder for good work! Parents running onto the pitch with water. We see all these things every week, but sometimes when we see our boys doing well we just want to be on the pitch with them as part of the team. Teamwork, team spirit and the camaraderie from parents is what makes this such a special game and why we love it so much.
There are up and downs of course but we were competing against very well-funded and large clubs. These teams bring their best 15 players to the competitions out of 40 in their group. I heard that some clubs even have the advantage of hiring specialist during the season to enhance their performance. Therefore, bearing in mind our boys train once a week they did so very well and should be mightily proud of themselves...
It was a tough day, five matches in warm weather. Tired and bruised bodies, but still smiles all around. Despite that I’m sure the boys would have played another game if they had the opportunity!
Back to the caravan park and sad to see some families leaving for home due to work commitments. Needless to say, the rest of the gang staying overnight were ready for another night of partying raising a toast to the absentees! Everybody talking about when/where we can all meet up for next drink. The boys decided to jump in to the pool and the parents stayed outside the bar with a table full of wine and beer. I am certain there will be more great days imminently like when we go out for the team dinner etc. I’m sure we are all looking forward to the next day out!!
It was now time for us to say goodbye to the rest of the people who were staying overnight. Sad faces all around as the weekend drew to a close, especially sad faces on the boys who were already talking about 2018 IOW tour, especially those who were on their 1st trip.
Now I must take the opportunity to mention a few people who deserve our thanks for organising the trip each year.
Sarah & Elyes - As we all say we have the best 2 Admins in the business. Whether it is official business or a bit of banter, these two have always got something to say and start some very amusing conversations, especially in the whatsapp group. So, to the both of you we offer our thanks for everything you have done this season and in the past. Always thinking of the children’s welfare and organising so so much! We are so grateful. THANK YOU.
Scott & Robbie – Our perfect combination, two very distinctive characters, that work brilliantly with the boys and their parents. Simply put the boys adore you both, and most importantly they listen to you two more than they listen to their parents! I really do not know how you two keep such calm heads when the boys are running riot. I have seen so many coaches treat their kids so badly, especially when they make a mistake or when they lose a match etc. I have never seen Robbie or Scott lose their temper or even shout at our kids. We are very lucky to have you and I’m sure I can say on behalf of all U/10’s parents a big THANK YOU for teaching our kids with respect and helping them along their rugby “journey”! THANK YOU!!
Gareth - it was such a great pleasure to be part of the IOW tour. Thank you so much for helping organise such a wonderful tour. I’m sure it must have been a difficult few months having to reply to a constant daily barrage of emails and text messages. Again, thank you on behalf of all the parents and children as we so appreciate all the work that went in to making the tour the success it was. So looking forward to next year’s trip already.
Updated 09:42 - 4 May 2017 by Martin Curry