PUBLISHED 08 November 2021
Just prior to the half term break, our AKS U12 rugby squad embarked on their first experience of rugby touring with 26 enthusiastic boys and 3 optimistic members of staff headed to North Wales. The purpose of the tour was to develop the friendships and bonds within the squad whilst providing opportunities to further develop their understanding of the game.
Following a long day at school, the 26 very excited, energetic players set off on the long bus journey to Llandudno, stopping off for some ten-pin bowling and an meal at Cheshire Oaks on the way. The boys completed some incredible strikes, but more interestingly, showed a talent for acquiring thousands upon thousands of tickets from the arcade machines. We (eventually) got back on the road and the boys settled into their accommodation for the weekend.
The boys were up early and breakfast did not let us down, with a tasty selection of hot and cold choices. The biggest surprise to the staff was the number of boys saying they drank black coffee!
We then travelled the short distance to St David’s College for our first fixture.
The game proved to be an excellent challenge for our boys, with several of the opposition players coming from older year groups; their experience and physicality showing through on several occasions as the hosts scored early. It took our boys a few minutes to get to terms with the pace of the game but, as the game developed so did AKS and the boys started to create opportunities outside, moving the ball quickly from one side of the pitch to the other and involving all players in the process. This resulted in AKS crossing the line several times, Will G & Matthew S scoring twice each, singles to Isaac B and Oakley W and conversions to Isaac and Finlay K. Jack W was the stand out player with some superb tackling and strong carries throughout the game.
Our hosts for the game were superb and, once fed and showered we were back on the road and on our way to Zip World Cavern, ‘Bounce Under’ in Snowdonia, which turned out to be an amazing experience, bouncing around and exploring the depths together.
From there, the boys went directly to Pizza Hut for their tea, with many of the boys taking full advantage of the ‘all you can eat’ salad and dessert bars to re-fuel after a big day. The boys then returned to the hotel for a quick turnaround to go out to the arcades on the pier in Llandudno. The boys were in their element here, enjoying playing games together and having fun. We had a much earlier night, with many very tired boys making their way to bed.
Room inspections first thing, followed by another big breakfast, thanking our hosts and then off to Colwyn Bay RFC.
This fixture was a far different challenge, coming up against a strong, abrasive side who loved to run hard and straight. AKS began the game brilliantly, scoring some excellent tries, again through the same brand of rugby that we try to play throughout the school. Fast paced, with our heads up and looking to hit the space wherever possible.
Playing a squad of 26 in a 12 a-side game is no easy task and it was the number of changes across the game that affected the fluency and consistency for the team and our opposition came back into the game on several occasions, dominating the play particularly in the 2nd third but AKS coped well with this swing in play and some outstanding individual performances allowed the team to continue to compete and score throughout the game. Finlay K was the standout performer of this fixture, tacking ferociously, running superb lines and scoring an outstanding try.
Jack W was outstanding in both tour matches, scoring twice and Isaac B & Finlay K scoring once each and conversions for Finlay K and Valentino G-P.
The highlight of this game was seeing all 26 boys contributing to the team, growing as players and developing as individuals.
26 boys and 3 staff all had a fantastic time on tour. The tour gave us some excellent rugby and will stand us in good stead for the rest of the season. What’s more is the bonding and team building that naturally occurs on such a tour. The biggest test of a tour is whether the teachers had enjoyed themselves and in this instance they absolutely did. All 26 boys were an absolute credit to themselves, their parents and the school and were fantastic company throughout.
Gratitude is definitely owed to all of the staff involved in organising the tour, as well as our hosts Llandudno Hostel and St David’s College and Colwyn Bay RFC for hosting fixtures.
Mr A Holmes