St. Mary’s College RFC have retained the Berlin Tens title that they won last season. They defeated teams from England, Germany and France en route to the title. Keith McCarthy from the club takes up the story.
The St. Mary’s College squad arrived in Berlin with high spirits on Friday morning ahead of defending our crown as Berlin Tens champions. After a long days pre-tournament training in the many tourist spots of Berlin the squad set off on Sat morning for the Berliner S.C. Rugby Club.
First up was a tough encounter against Tabard RFC from England. Despite the first half being all about Marys soaking up the constant onslaught from Tabard we turned the game around in the second half and ran in some lovely scores to win 30-0. Off to a great start.
Our second game saw us go quickly behind to Berliner Sport-Verein 1892. This was to prove a temporary glitch and eventually we ran out 31-5 winners. Young Cetts running in two lovely tries at the start of the game. After this game we were left with a two hour break before our final group game. This time was used foolishly by some to lie out in the sun and suffer sunstroke, most notably the tour manager, while others had the foresight to bring sun cream and enjoyed no pain the next day.
Our third and final group game saw us again go behind before rallying back and beating the Belgian outfit RC La Hulpe by 45-15. We underestimated the usefulness of the Belgians and they very easily could have caused us some problems if it wasn’t for super sub Craiger scaring them off with the Knocklyon Express handoff. The poor fullback wanted to know nothing about him when he broke through. The Belgian winger, Snipes, was to run in numerous tries for them all day and scored two scorchers against us.
Out of the group and we defeated last seasons group opponents Réserve du RUC St Cyr L’Ecole in a tight game by 17-5. Not a pretty match at all.
The final saw us up against Tabard RFC after they defeated Wanderers to deny an all Irish final. After a steady start Al Harrison crossed for two unconverted tries and was only denied a hat-trick by a very questionable call from the touch judge. However Al Conboy crossed over to secure the match at 17-0 and ensure Marys retained the trophy we won last summer.
The after party went on until late Saturday night and a very enjoyable dinner and drinks reception was put on by the host club which included a raffle which Micky cleaned up on as far as prizes went but a special mention to Craiger winning the size 28″ shorts and the bonus prize holy socks!
The rest of the night was spent celebrating with the Germans, the French and Wanderers in the centre of Berlin where many a tune was belted out until the early hours.
On behalf of the squad, a huge thank you to Berliner SC for another fantastic tournament, to the club for their help and to tour sponsors Aspect Systems Ltd. Also a big thanks to the tour skipper Dave Lyons (whose best tackle came at the après tournament reception!!) and tour manager Ian Grimson for their effort in making the whole weekend happen.
St. Mary’s College RFC Berlin Tens 2008
Dave Lyons (captain)
Ian Grimson (manager)