Going Dutch: team spirit and good rugby abound on expanded Holland tour

Going Dutch: team spirit and good rugby abound on expanded Holland tour

A 46-strong group of rugby players developed their skills and bonded as teams on a spring tour to Holland.

The short tour, resumed after a two-year break because of the pandemic, was previously open to Year 9, but this year was opened to Year 10 as well, attracting 23 players from each year group.

The trip over the Easter break began with a very long journey from Barnet to Amsterdam, via Caen – with the crossing to France impacted by the P&O Ferries chaos. After successful matches at Rugby Club Eemland in the city of Amersfoort, 32 miles from Amsterdam, the party made the short journey west to take part in the Hilversum Festival – one of the largest and most well-established youth rugby tournaments in Europe.

Head of Rugby James Clarke, who organised the trip, said: “The tour provided a brilliant environment in which our boys were able to develop their skills and enjoy the camaraderie and team spirit that being part of a touring party fosters. It was great to be able to resume this tour after two years and for the experience to be extended to both Years 9 and 10.”

“Both age groups played RC Eemland teams on the Saturday. We won both matches and were hosted brilliantly by the club afterwards,” said Mr Clarke.

The boys then went bowling in the evening. The trip also included a visit to the stadium of Amsterdam’s mighty AFC Ajax.

“At Hilversum the next day, the boys thoroughly enjoyed the tournament, played some really good rugby, and were a real credit to the School.”

The U15s (Year 10) drew four matches and lost one: they were, said Mr Clarke, unlucky not to secure any victories in the tournament, which was run in a round-robin format.

By contrast, the U14s from Year 9 enjoyed considerable success on the pitch and came second in their age group in the tournament after winning four of their matches and losing only one.

The final night, before the trip home on Easter Monday, saw the presentation of tour awards. Ubaidah Rahman was named player of the tour among the U14s, with Theo Moses taking the prize for the U15s.

The tour was a swansong for PE teacher Oliver O’Gorman, “a great member of the PE department since 2018”, Mr Clarke added. Mr O’Gorman has taken up a new post with international IT security company Fortinet.