Tailenders in Barcelona

Tailenders Barcelona vets festival 2014

The Tailenders have just returned from a great weekend representing the club at a veterans festival in Lloret de Mar near Barcelona. This was a fantastic event with teams from France, Eire, Italy, Spain and the UK, including clubs such as Harlequins and Toulouse, with over 30 teams attending.

The festival was exceptionally well organised, with buses collecting all the teams from the airport, ferrying teams back and forth from hotel to pitches, all to an exacting programme. The pitches were in excellent condition having been regularly watered and we weren’t expecting to play on a moist surface!

Games were 15 minutes each way with a short break, and rapid swap over to the next match with all games stopping and starting at the same time.

The team was a few players short and we borrowed 3 players from Harlequins, Wills, Harry (not those ones!) and Karl, with them supporting with rolling substitutes as required. We returned the compliment for their games, which meant that some players were going straight from one game to another, Paul Currie, Rob Milner and Johnny Phillips being the most regular repeat players.

  1. Tailenders played Shardana Old Rugby first. This was no gentle run out, with sweltering conditions and tough play by both sides. Paul Currie put in a definite try saving tackle early on before Neil Bird flew in for a try to open the scoring but Shardana also scored, leaving it 5 each at half time. There was no kicking for goal. The second half saw Tailenders step up the pace with Greg Way running in a try before a driving maul over the line saw Des Holmes fall down and get a finger to the ball to score. Shardanna pulled one back just before the close, but Tailenders came away worthy winners 15-10.

  2. The second opposition was Les Ducs de Motte (we can only guess at what it means). This was a more dominant performance by Tailenders, with Johnny Phillips running in two tries with one from the Harlequins guy, Wills as well. Ducs managed to salvage 1 try, but were outclassed seeing Tailenders winners 15-5.

  3. The third game was a tougher affair against Lous Gaillinous, a team from Toulouse. This was the last game in a hot sweltering afternoon with some players having played almost continuously for the last 1 ½ hours due to helping out Harlequins, and injuries were starting to tell. Despite that, we put up a great effort and although Lous scored first, Neil Bird again crossed the line to level the scores. Very tired old bodies clung on grimly to the final whistle and a very creditable 5 – 5 draw resulted.

The result was won 2, drew 1 which made us the WINNERS of our group!

Great to have support from the Harlequins, but the team put up a fantastic effort and we will start planning now for next year and try and build up to a squad of 20 – then there will be no stopping us!

Team members: Mark Griffin (Capt), Ian Tatton, David Fry, Neil Bird, Johnny Phillips, Merv Dearlove, Jeff Nowill, Greg Way, Neil Stone, Rob Milner, Paul Currie and Des Holmes. Managing support: Geoff Durand, Ollie Taylor.

Much appreciated sponsorship from Roy Batchelor and Jeff Nowill meant that we were well turned out both on and off the pitch, attracting admiring glances from the other teams, with one Frenchman describing our outfits as ‘superb’! Not sure if, coming from a Frenchman, that qualifies as a compliment, but we’ll take it as such!

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