Last weekend Old Wesley RFC sent a touring party of 31 players, coaches and alickadoos for a 3 – 4 day tour of Barcelona sponsored by Finnegan Menton Property Consultants, the club having previously toured Barcelona in 2009. The touring party was led by David Bursey, who has served as Junior Deputy President this past season while also togging out when needed. The playing squad was made up of players from all teams in the club with the majority being drawn from the J3 side that reached the final of the Moran Cup.
Tour highlights included a lengthy beach training session, screenings of both the Amlin and Heineken Cup finals as well as various cultural and social tours of the city.
The match was played at 1pm on the Saturday of the tour against a Club XV from former Spanish Champions Unio Esportiva Santboiana. Embracing a cavalier style match plan, Old Wesley took an early lead from a Thomas Emo try and with the wind at their backs. The bigger Old Wesley pack was able to pin the Catalans in their own half for much of the first half with Brian Doherty and Jamie McConnell scoring tries; helped somewhat by the Catalan hosts’ “no tackling” defensive policy to leave the game evenly tied at 19-19 at half time.
Playing into the breeze as the afternoon temperatures soared, the visitors struggled to restart the game and the Catalans scored two, quick, loose tries to build up a significant lead. Some impact subs and the use of a 13 man lineout saw Wesley coming back into the game with tries by Emo and Colin Wallace. With parity in sight, the hosts’ experienced out half, Quentin Van Der Kampf, who previously played for Wanderers in Dublin, took control of the game and used the wind to pin the Dubliners back in their 22. Here a number of handling errors saw the Catalans score two easy tries before Emo scored a late consolation try that marked his hat trick and the end of the game.
Brilliantly hosted, Old Wesley were then treated to a huge BBQ and sing song in the hosts’ club house, which doubled as the venue for the traditional kangaroo court, before retiring to the Port Olimpic and a post-match debriefing session that carried on into early Sunday morning!
Old Wesley Tour Party: Ronan Sheridan, Thomas O’Brien, Colin Wallace, Thomas Emo, Crispin Mäenpää, Brian Doherty, Jamie McConnell (Captain), Geoff Dand, David Swaine, Neale Richmond, Shane Davey, Richard Morrow, Crawford Kidd, Neil Stanley, David Rowe, Muiris Stack, Gavin Telford, Dan Hall, Jonny Willis, Brian Murphy, David Heelan, Alan Johnston, Paddy Owens, Richie Johnston, Duncan Clarke, Stuart Kinlan
Coaches and Management: David Bursey (and player), Mark Younge, Nigel Poff, Andrew Leeson
Referee: Nigel Correll