Abercynon RFC: Canada Tour
Abercynon RFC finally embarked on their eagerly awaited ten day tour of Canada . Flying from Heathrow, the high spirited tour party of 54 personnel comprised of ages between 20 and 73, including 26 current players and five father and son combinations. Throughout the trip the rugby tour took in a four day stay at Ottawa, two days in Toronto and four days in Niagara Falls.
When arriving in Ottawa, two days were spent socialising and sightseeing including white water rafting on the rapids of the Ottawa River. To cap a memorable day, tour member Chris Lewis ‘won’ the bungee jump raffle and his colleagues and father Tommy watched with baited breath while Chris braved the 150 foot ascent and the subsequent dive into thin air.
Onward to Toronto where the group spent a further two days taking in the local city sights. Tour Member Tony Owen also managed to squeeze in a beer with his brother Jeff who had left Abercynon to seek their fortune in Canada 25 years previously! Last stop at Niagara Falls and the party spent little time making themselves at home and enjoying the ‘hospitality’ on offer. A journey on the ‘Maid of the Mist’ into the falls was an enjoyable experience even though some were devoid of their protective clothing by the end!
The tour’s first rugby match against Ottawa Irish at Twin Elm Park on a hot Sunday afternoon was a fiery affair with Meirion Withey’s Abercynon side running out winners at 31-12. Lock forward Withey scored the first try and others came from wing Ryan Hudson, second row Carwyn Watkins, veteran Robbie Savage and centre Matthew Turner. Abercynon were then given a generous half hour rest before taking to take the field, this time against Barrhaven Scottish. Such is the rivalry between the Irish and Scottish teams meant they would not combine to play one full length game! In the end the encounter against the Scottish was a little too much for Abercynon and the touring side lost 19-21.
The last game of the tour came on Friday 21st May against Niagara Wasps and another Abercynon exile, Jimmy Price, originally from Manchester joined the party at the game. Abercynon started the game against the Wasps in impressive fashion and held a 14-0 lead following tries from centre Gareth Davies and outside half Sion Griffiths. In the second period, Abercynon RFC tired and the game started to slip away from them. Despite a commendable defensive effort, the Wasps from wrestled the game from Abercynon and sealed the match at 19-14 to the hosts. After the match both sides let their hair down with rugby songs traded and new acquaintances made.
All good things must come to an end and in contrast to the outward journey the return trip was indeed low key. The lions had turned into lambs but all 54 tourists will have fond memories of Canada 2010.