In what has become a highlight of Trinity’s sporting calendar, three of our players joined forces last week with the other schools in the Emmanuel Schools Foundation to embark on a rugby tour of the Lake District.
Harry Linley, Ben Potts and Tyler Wainwright – together with Trinity staff member Mike Liddle – travelled up to Kings Academy in Middlesbrough to meet their fellow Year 11 players.
After a brief meet and greet and squad photograph, the players headed off to train together at the nearby Middlesbrough RUFC facilities. Initial signs were positive, although it was plain that a good deal of getting to know each other would be needed to forge an effective playing squad.
After this, the Lions moved to their tour base in the scenic town of Keswick where the allocation of rooms found the Trinity and Kings Academy players joined together in what was soon termed by the squad ‘The Yorkshire Room’.
The first team building exercise was Dragon Boating on Derwent Water, in conditions that led to nearly as much water being in the boat as outside it. Despite the windswept conditions, the experience was well enjoyed by all, with the end result being a 2-1 race win to the ‘backs’ boat (ably assisted by ‘back for the day’ Mr Liddle).
After a morning training session on Thursday at the park in Keswick, the squad faced their first game against Keswick School, with the blustery conditions of the previous day seeming to follow them.
The Trinity contingent were cheered on by the surprise arrival of Mr Carter and two sixth-form students who were not put off by the adverse conditions. Neither were the ESF Lions, who dug in to record a 19-0 victory. The squad retired to their digs happy, keen to run through the video of the match ready for the next game.
Friday saw no game on the immediate horizon, but after a short training session to blow off the cobwebs, some personal time in Keswick was allowed before the aquatic afternoon activities.
Journeying a little further down Derwent Water, the squad first underwent the challenge of fitting into their wetsuits (not an easy task for a rugby player) before an afternoon of kayaking and canoeing. At this point, the bond formed between players who were strangers a few days before was clear to see and the squad came away in high spirits to enjoy a meal at a local pizza restaurant.
The final day saw a focus to get everything packed before saying a fond farewell to Keswick and journeying to Penrith RUFC for the second game of the tour. The initial concerns that this would be a much harder game were well founded, with Penrith running out the clear victors, although the referee seemed a little unsure as to the final score.
Beaten but unbowed, the Lions came together one last time for the presentations. All three Trinity players acquitted themselves well throughout the tour, making the allocation of the Trinity Academy ‘Lion of the Tour’ a difficult choice. Ben Potts had shown his grit and tenacity in forward play, Tyler Wainwright his pace and attacking flair from the wing. The final decision was given to Harry Linley not only for his ability to fit in a number of positions without issue but also his tackling prowess across both games
“I would like to say that I am immensely proud to have been involved in the Lions Tour this year,” Mr Liddle said. “To have watched a group of students not only come together as rugby players but to grow together as young adults.
“Each and every member of the 23-man squad deserves the utmost praise for their maturity and the strength of character they have shown.”