It’s Snow joke as tour ends early
By russell vale
Stroud U14s lose tour game – alpine style - to the coaches
After a successful first day (match reports to follow later in week courtesy of Geoff and Rick) the tour continued at Whitemead Luxury Lodges, Forest of Dean, close to the Arctic Circle.
Everyone met in the bar – heads a bit worse for wear after Friday night’s merriment. The kids were occupied for 2 hours with Archery and Water zorbing. Jedd and Lucas set a Guinness world record for the most water displaced by a 12 stone person in a swimming pool – yes they were 12 stone in case the H&S police are checking. Alex won the archery – quite a surprise as his kicking was a work in progress in accuracy. Thankfully the tour panda mascot had been left safely inside as certain players had suggested he be put on the archery target and be used as target practice. Probably better to aim at a toy bear instead of firing arrows at their team mates in the inflatable zorbs that was the 2nd option considered.
The afternoon was wall-to-wall 6 Nations rugby. Speaking of Guinness World Records another was set as the black stuff was all drunk by 3pm and the Stroud parents had to deviate onto Caffrey’s and Cider.
As the final whistle went in the last game people rushed back to finish off their Italian themed masterpieces. Geoff had been inspired by Masterchef and the phrase ‘presentation is everything’. 3 colanders and saucepans later and he had dressed his Italian salad magnificently…….
An evening of fun and feasting was had by all as the parents took over Charlies lodge, and the kids laid waste to Delia and Bills. The kids finished first and in true Saturday night tradition went out to Gala bingo and cleared out all the prizes. Unfortunately they still hadn’t learnt to read or count so got evicted from the hall for calling ‘House’ at the most inopportune time.
As people retired back to the lodges the first snow flakes were falling – but it was more an icing sugar coating so we’d be fine for the Berry Hill game in the morning…..
How wrong we were! Curtains were pulled back and a blanket of 3” white snow was waiting for us. People rushed to Jim’s spacious pod to see if him and Archie had frozen solid overnight, or got lost in the snow using their outside en-suite toilet. Luckily Jim had learnt from his Friday night error and had successfully plugged in the electric heater, but as a consequence he hadn’t won his £45 while sleep gambling on all night TV poker channels.
Berry Hill had been in touch to confirm the game was off. Rumours were abound that it wasn’t snow and was in fact a food look-a-like substitute by a parent trying to avoid having to write a match report. Who was the culprit? Mark O had taken a leaf from Rick “sabotage the home pitch with flooding attack” Towers and improvised with the 37 million tonnes of leftover parmesan cheese and tiramisu. To make good his escape before being rumbled the coach company were negotiating with Sam to collect Mark in Lydney, but come back for the rest of us on Monday morning. Fortunately when it came to the vote the parents won (kids left in bed on purpose) and it was decided that we would all try and leave Sunday PM and not give the kids another snow day off school. Decision made – now to have some fun. Just like Fridays last minute game cancellation the coaches phoned around a few contacts and got a game back on again - Snowball fight ! Coaches vs Players.
Straight from the off Coach Phil was red carded and sent to the stands (aka drinking coffee in the warm – still blaming his dodgy ankle from 2 seasons ago). Coach Mk I had gone boar hunting to try and replenish the Whiteshill Lodge bacon reserves as they had polished off 112 rashers over 2 breakfasts and their meat inspired Atkins diet needed to be followed strictly and if they were snowed in longer they would run out by Sunday evening. Coach Chris was en-route to Matson dry ski slope to set off the avalanches with his booming voice. This left Coaches Jo, Mk II, and Russell to take on assorted members of Stroud U14s team. Let battle commence…….
Arthur made a welcome appearance back from injury. He managed to beat his French foreign exchange student Arthur in a snow ball duel and so laid claim to the best English sporting performance vs France in the last 2 weeks – mainly because he ignored the Eddie Jones advice on how to throw a snowball. Mr T showed his lineout skills by plucking snowballs from the skies and throwing them back with vengeance. Stalemate ensued though with the coaches because the players hid behind the Early twins and the coaches had read their DBS/CRB forms and signed their Tour consent forms and snowball attacks on Under 10’s were not going to be tolerated.
Half time was taken at 0-0 and more U14 subs came on to replace the Early family and French Arthur who were seen heading to the shop to show their cultural background with croissants and Haribo for breakfast. Jo was keen to make every sporting occasion a training session – it all started with the no-look pass – which was actually a snowball at point blank range to Sauce’s chest as he was distracted trying to hit his dad on the bonce. Boom! 1-0 to the coaches. The black arts of the scrum taken to another level….
Then Russell and Mk II took on the front row team of Liam and Lucas. After 5 minutes Liam had developed 2 cauliflower ears that any international prop would be proud of. Fortunately after another 5 minutes the snowballs had melted and his ears returned to normal shape. Kapow! 3-0 to the coaches.
Captain Will called a team meeting and they developed a new strategy – mass assault on the adults. Lucas screamed ‘Alpine Rhino’, picked up his ammo and Russell and Mk II ran for their igloos but got covered in the white stuff as Will, Liam, and Sauce attacked in a pincer movement and unleashed their barrage of snowballs. Game-on as the score flipped in the players favour at 4-3.
Darion joined the fray but was an easy target as he couldn’t hear the incoming snowballs whistling past his head as he was wearing his headphones and listening to Keyan inspired Gangsta (c)rap music. Coaches back in the game at 4-4 with a long range attack and successful conversion. The final phase of war was Russell vs Lucas. Lucas was showing off his new found Full Back skills and catching snowballs with great aplomb – in his hair! 5-4 to the Coaches. A truce was declared and the players retreated inside to have a HIA test from Delia. Not relevant for the coaches as they had lost their marbles many years ago……
Final Score: Stroud Coaches 5 – 4 Stroud U14 players
The rest of the morning was more merriment in the pool, collecting 63 tonnes of left-over Italian food from Charlie’s fridge, and helping Bill and Delia wash up 78 plates covered in pizza remains. The coach arrived on time and an uneventful trip back to Stroud was had by all – mainly because there was no Keyan in charge of the bus entertainment system, and there were no windy streets to attack the coaches windows.
Many thanks to our match shirt sponsors Bristol Street Motors (via Jo?), EPS (Phil), Project Analysis (Jenks) and Omega Resource (Rick) for a fantastic souvenir tour match shirt that will surely get many a wear over the next few seasons. Thanks also for the other donations (time and money) from other generous parents that helped contribute to a truly memorable tour. Extra special thanks to Sam for her tireless efforts organising the tour, and managing all the last minute adjustments as weather and travel plans changed by the hour. Also thanks to Chris H for his help with the organisation as well.
Please remember to pay Jo for the shirts and Tori for the thank you gifts.
So another successful tour concludes with players having a great time – on and off the pitch. Parents likewise having fun as well. Who needs accommodation like Colditz @ Ilfracombe when you can have luxury lodges in the Forest?
So where to next year? – Remember Marks Saturday night speech about tour ethos and perhaps going international? So answers on a postcard to ‘Stroud go to Japan for World Cup 2019’, c/o Sam & Mark Tours Ltd, Stonehouse…..