Derby RFC Colts: Holland 2012

Derby RFC Colts recently returned from their sports tour to Holland. They headed off to the continent to utilise the fantastic facilities at Stay Okay, Valkenswaard with several training sessions and one fixture against the Dutch national champions in Den Haag. 

"Well organised tour and the Teamlink guide became part of our 'team' for the duration"
Tracy Edmunson, Tour Leader

Derby RFC Colts headed off on their sports to Holland – destination Stay Okay, Valkenswaard. They were taking in one fixture and several training sessions at Stay Okay’s fantastic facilities, in an attempt to improve their skills and make sure they maintained their status as one of the Midlands premier Colts outfits.

They definitely looked like an elite amateur rugby team when they boarded the coach dressed in their ‘80’s fitness’ gear which was definitely borderline illegal. Stopping at a service station half way down the M1, fellow travellers were treated to a rare sight; 36 rugby players doing a full warm-up, including lunges, dressed as extras from ‘Flash Dance’. #whatafeeling

Upon arriving in the Stay Okay Valkenswaard court was in session as the court leader, Jake Barker, laid down the rules for the rest of the tour. Including keeping their pet coconuts on their person at all times and being able to back up every statement they said with facts (otherwise you lose part of your eyebrow). #traintracks

That night Valkenswaard was treated to the Derby RFC Colts experience featuring Psy and Gangnam Style, a dancing display that encompassed the grace of a ballerina and the swagger of an R&B superstar which sent ripples around the Dutch clubbing scene. A great turnout for the first night on tour was followed the next day with a rather dazed looking training session on the lush Stay Okay grass. Coaches Roxy Fearon and Daniel Gillespie looked exasperated as the team struggled through some basic drills, but were powerless to comment as they had been caught ‘raising the roof’ to Fatman Scoop in Valkenswaard the night before. I guess it is a case of ‘do what I say not as I do!’ eh guys? #derbystyle

Bright eyed and bushy tailed, post training session the lads headed back into town to hit the lanes and enjoy some ten pin bowling. With exclusive use of the facilities coach Dan Gillespie set up a coaching master class on the spare lane, once a coach always a coach, although after a strong start in his own game he fell to the exceptional bowling skills of Brian McCallion. Lewis Hancock and George Clugston were joint champs amongst the team and to decide the outright victor they raced each other whilst drinking a horn of local beer. #bootrace

Monday was game day. The reason the team had travelled to the continent, preparing for a great fixture in the afternoon the team took part in a much more intense training session with the quality of the team shining through. Fuelled up on their Stay Okay lunch the lads set off for The Hague, or Den Haag as it is known by the natives. A 2 hour drive flew by thanks to some inspirational match highlights from the 2009 British and Irish Rugby Lions tour to South Africa. This distracted the team from the monsoon that was going on outside the coach which seemed to be flooding every patch of grass we saw. The all important fixture was looking to be in danger! #anyoneforwaterpolo

Upon arrival the team saw that the pitch was, miraculously, accessible without a life raft and quickly agreed to play on a superbly conditioned pitch. Battle ready, Derby introduced themselves to their opposition with a unique twist on the traditional ‘Hakka’. Who knew an ancient war dance would someday include the words, ‘The Derby Evening Telegraph’. #readallblackaboutit

Underestimating the quality of Haagshe RFC Colts, who turned out to be Dutch national champions and boasted international players, Derby found themselves shocked and down 21-7 at the half. They were in a game and came out in the second half prepared to defend theirs and England’s rugby reputation. A stellar hat-trick by Oli Fewtrell lead the team to victory over very tough opposition, eventually winning the game 38–26. #midlandsfinest

The team then got acquainted with their opposition off the field with some great post match hospitality. After presenting Haagshe’s captain with a Derby tie and awarding their number 13 (a Dutch international) with the man of the match award and receiving similar accolades from Haagsche, the real match began. As George Casteldine took on their 13 in the ‘Mars Bar’ challenge. Beating him hands down and gaining true respect from the Haagshe Colts. #victorytastessosweet

The team celebrated their historic victory deep into the night, waking up the next morning ready for their victorious return to the UK.  However, the tour fun was not over as the team had booked Ellis Szrejder and Ryan Ellis in for a much needed haircut. The City Of Europe shopping centre, located next to the Eurotunnel, was to be the scene of the crime.  Although the outcome was slightly more pleasant than the team had expected, with the pair receiving a head massage from a couple of pretty French women and getting some nice haircuts. This could possibly be the first time a rugby player has gone on tour and come back looking better than when they went. #beacauseyourworthit

Find out more about our sports tours to Holland

View more of our rugby tour reports

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