Sidmouth veterans' tour to Jersey
With vastly reduced numbers due to several late dropouts (you know who you are) the Sidmouth RFC tour party set off to Jersey for the annual veterans' tens rugby tournament, writes Steve Mead.
With vastly reduced numbers due to several late dropouts (you know who you are) the tour party set off to Jersey for the annual veterans' tens rugby tournament. Injuries were not an option with only 14 players but on the first night Nick Baker, after experiencing the Jersey nightlife, lost his bearings in the unfamiliar surroundings of the hotel. For full details speak to any member of the tour party; but you'll get the general idea by piecing together the following words: step, toilet pan, nose and hospital.After the events of the previous night, Nick declared himself fit, if not a little traumatised and Sidmouth took to the field with a small, mobile pack which included Martin Ford and Keith Upham in the front row, both more akin to playing with the athletes in the three-quarters. Sidmouth's greater mobility took its toll against a lumpy North Dorset team and things looked promising for the tournament with Sidmouth running in 8 tries to 2.Next came the RAF, who get time out of work to practise for these events. A spirited performance saw Sidmouth stay in contention in the first half, but the RAF's previous early night helped them take advantage of a Sidmouth team that were dwindling in numbers - Reg Turner and Colin Dunne both limping off with strains to their groin/hip area. Despite some legendary crabbing by Jamie Le Carpentier, Sidmouth went down 4 tries to 2.For their final pool match Sidmouth adopted a strategy that involved losing in order to avoid the big guns in the main competition and then giving it everything in the bowl competition.Everything went to plan and St Agnes went marching on to the main competition after a narrow victoryWith a strict curfew to be back at the hotel by 4am, the team woke early to torrential rain and strong wind. Less than motivated, Sidmouth took to the field where spectators were dressed in bin liners.A tight game saw Sidmouth score in the dying seconds to draw level. Martin Ford stepped up to take the conversion in favour of the tried and tested Sidmouth stalwart kicker Alan Barraclough. It didn't go over and extra time sudden death saw Sidmouth take an early trip to the bar. Anyway, who needs silverware? Nick Baker ensured the team didn't leave the island empty handed, picking up 'Man of the Tournament' (see paragraph 2).The squad was: Keith Upham, Martin Ford, Reg Turner, Jamie Le Carpentier, Ian Perry, Andy Burroughs, Vinny Bastyan, Colin Dunne, Nick Baker, Steve Channing, Duncan Woods, Andy Vanstone, Steve Thorne and Dai Evans. Special thanks to Duncan for organising the tour.