11/05/23 | Under 12's

Under 12’s First Rugby Tour

Author: Mal Pritchard


The Lymm under 12’s party followed the footsteps of the under 15’s for the first rugby tour of their careers. They all met at the unearthly hour of 5am at Manchester Airport with an edict from the tour management that any misdemeanours regarding luggage will be severely punished by the wearing of the ‘silly sausage hat’ ! Needless to say, the hats were in full evidence around the airport.

Tour manager, Tom ‘Mr Tumble‘ Graham, in his efficient manner, handed out the relevant paperwork, and then it was through security and off to Porto.

On arrival in Porto. The weather could have been more inviting as it was raining which was not explained in the tour schedule. However, this did not deter the under 12 players from rushing to the back of the coach in the age-old tradition! It was not long into the journey before the first of the tour songs involving aeroplanes was being served up by the enthusiastic throng of players, led by the choirmaster. The boys continued most of the way to Figueira da Foz, interrupting occasionally to ask, ‘Are we nearly there?’

On arrival in Figueira da Foz, the rain had stopped, but the sky was still overcast. The hotel which is ideally situated on the beach allowed us to leave our luggage as our rooms were not ready. Some people changed into beachwear which seemed inappropriate considering the weather. However, this proved a smart move as the sun shone strongly in the afternoon with some people wearing too many clothes, and having no suntan lotion with them(me!).

The boys enjoyed themselves playing football on the huge sandy beach and swimming in the cold Atlantic Sea, overseen by a person in budgie smugglers!!

The evening’s entertainment was dinner at the nearby tennis club, where the team management handed out to the players, their first club tie and an early night was had by all after a long day.

The next morning we were up early to make the relatively short journey to Coimbra for the rugby tournament. The weather was spectacular with not a cloud in the sky and the players were ready to perform. Coimbra RFC had organised a bar and food tent at the side of the pitches which was soon very busy. The mistakes of yesterday in respect of the weather were not repeated(me!).

The rugby was excellent with the two Lymm under 12 sides proving too strong for their Portuguese opposition. The contests were competitive and all the Lymm players contributed to the matches. Everyone agreed that our host had looked after us royally, not only organising the tournament but providing food and drink with a smile.

After the tournament, the traditional exchange of club colours and joint team photographs emphasised the great spirit the games were played in and the friendships made.

We then walked through Coimbra up the steep hills, stopping halfway up at an ice cream parlour,  with the boys, enjoying their ice creams of many flavours. Surprisingly, there was a bar nearby, and the parents took refreshments.

At the top of the City the University of Coimbra has a great position with views around the region. In the square, there was a graduation ceremony, taking place and unsurprisingly one of our members, reliving his youth, joined their graduation photographs. In years they will be wondering who this imposter was!!

We finished the day at Coimbra RFC where again we were looked after excellently, with the coach, leaving at 8 o’clock and taking us back to our hotel.

The next morning at the hotel, all our mobile phones pinged to the message ’surf’s up’. This was the signal to march down the promenade to the Surf Club at the end of the beach. The boys and a few parents changed into wet suits, grabbed a surfboard and set off in search of the perfect wave. A number of boys managed to stand and surf guided by the excellent tutors.

However, further out to sea was Mr Tumble waiting patiently on his surfboard, for that perfect wave. Allegedly, he’s pretty cool on the surfboard but unfortunately, that perfect wave never arrived and the waiting crowd were disappointed!!

After surfing we had another excellent lunch at a nearby restaurant, where all the boys received medals for their performances of the previous day after which they all went off playing football again on the beach.

The coach arrive late afternoon and transported us to the airport for our flight home with some tired bodies, young and old boarding the plane.

It was a fabulous weekend with the boys and parents having a great time. Everybody contributed to the tour in some way and much laughter was had. The hotel resort and the rugby were perfect and we couldn’t have asked for more. We’ve been coming to Coimbra for the last 10 years and had a wonderful friendship with the club. We must thank the club and Rui for organising everything which went like clockwork.

Tom Graham did an excellent job, organising everything and we should thank him for his hard work. Also, we should thank the tour sponsors – BCL Legal (James Batt), Wain Group (Will Ainscough) & Paternoster South West (Max Sayers – Tumble’s Bro).

The children will remember their first tour with hopefully many more to come.

On another note, we should thank all the coaches for their dedication and commitment throughout the season to provide excellent coaching and organisation which allows the under 12’s to enjoy the great game which is rugby. It is more than a game, as it provides great friendships and fun, hopefully throughout their lives.

All the best


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