USA and Canada Rugby Tour 2015
A day of travel with everyone arriving late in the United States to meet their host families late in the evening, all heading to their different locations.
The day started with a early meet up for the boys accompanied by their hosts and also large downpours of rain. Having been treated to ample portions of Buffalo Wings the previous night we were excited to start exploring before the first matches of the tour in the evening. Everyone was in high spirits for their first day in the USA.
We then took a boat trip around Lake Erie which was a good chance to bond as a team and see some local sights. A brief trip to a shopping mall allowed the boys to feast on local cuisine, represented by Jason Cardy (Upper Sixth, Feilden) visiting the local Subway restaurant. The boys also took the chance to buy some souvenirs with Charlie Dyde (Lower Sixth, Feilden) blowing his budget on some new trainers.
We then moved onto the fixture which was held in Batavia (see match reports). This led us to an after match award ceremony where all players and host families gathered and planned the day of activities on Friday. Overall a fantastic day, which acclimatised us to the US culture.
Will Parsons (Upper Sixth, Gascoigne)
Cokethorpe Saxons Squad Match Report
The Saxons team started with a huge push for possession. The slippy conditions made fast backs play difficult therefore the game turned into a forwards game with our pack in ruck after ruck. The pack lived up to this pressure by dominating many of the scrums and pushing the opposition back. Unfortunately, mistakes were made due to slippy conditions and a team that had never played together. Our opposition also played well with some great line breaks and a strong defence. The Saxons overcame this defence with some great team tries scored by Austin Welsh (Fourth Form, Swift), Ali Grime (Fifth Form, Swift), Hugo Matthews (Fourth Form, Swift) and Will Kent (Fourth Form, Feilden) converted by Alex Swancott (Fourth Form, Vanbrugh). The final score fell in favour of us with a 36-10 victory.
Toby Cole (Upper Sixth, Vanbrugh)
Cokethorpe Lions Squad (1st XV) Match Report
The boys were in high spirits going into our first game against the New York State All Stars, everyone determined to start the tour well. Kicking off just after the Saxons victory, the Lions made a strong start with a rush of attacking play taking the hosts by surprise and scoring a beatiful try in the right corner. This positive start continued as we managed to dominate possession and maintain a fast, aggressive and well organised attack scoring a multitude of tries in the first half.
In the second half the All Stars fought back well with strong defence and some attacking play taking them up the field and close the line. However we were able to knock them back and regain possession, continuing the open and fast paced style we played in the first half. The rugby was beautiful with the forwards working closely and effectively to allow the backs to play their game. Tries came one after the other and we managed to build an extensive lead. A confident win for the team, but the All stars must be credited for putting up huge challenge and we are extremely grateful to them as hosts. We are all pleased to have started off the tour so well and we are confident for our remaining games in Canada.
Congratulations to our No.10 Archie Fellows (Lower Sixth, Vanbrugh) being named man of the match by the opposition.
Harry Lovibond (Upper Sixth, Queen Anne)
The day started with an early bus ride and a farewell to our very homely and amazing hosts. We took the bus to the Niagara Falls where we had an hour stop to take in the breathtaking views and try to comprehend the amount of water that goes over the falls. A few photos later we got back onto the bus to our jet boat ride, where I think most people didn't comprehend how wet we were actually going to get. With Mr Hayne somewhat aquaphobic and Mr Morgan supervising from a dry vantage point it was only Mr Bailey, Mr Holder and the rest of the team who braved the jet boat ride. We headed straight up to rapids and went up and down them many times, drenching us on every sortie. The boat took us all safely back thanks to the great Captain and we got back onto the bus and all headed off for our lunch.
Ali Grime (Fifth Form, Swift)
Cokethorpe Saxons Squad Match Report - Game Two
Our game today was against London St George's of Ontario, Canada, a tougher game for the Saxons coming off the back of the win over New York All Stars.
The game began well, with strong running from Austin Welsh (Fourth Form, Swift) and darting runs from Ali Grime (Fifth Form, Swift) with a dominant first 20 minutes, resulting in a 0-28 lead at half time. However St George, a powerful side, scored a try after a fine exhibition of rugby leading to a 42-5 score, with Austin Welsh scoring his third try of the match and Jack Taylor (Lower Sixth, Gascoigne) scoring his first. Towards the end, our fitness prevailed, and we finished strongly with another try from Ryan Smith (Fifth Form, Vanbrugh). The final points of the game were converted beautifully by Toby Watts-Lay (Upper Sixth, Swift), ending the match on high spirits to win 52-5.
Louis Sharpe-Ward (Fifth Form, Gascoigne)
Cokethorpe Lions Squad (1st XV) Match Report - Game Two
After a long bus drive from from the USA border, we stopped for a pre match feed consisting of various healthy options. Arriving at the ground we were met by a warm Canadian evening and a well nourished opposition, however in true Cokethorpe spirit we rose to the challenge.
Early points scored with great link up play from the forwards setting a fantastic platform for the backs to execute in the corner. This intensity carried on throughout the game with consistent flare from James Millett (Upper Sixth, Harcourt) and Will Parsons (Upper Sixth, Gascoigne) shredding the defence. As always the back row demonstrated great defensive work rates both in defence and attack. Going into the second half the score continued to build with excellent running lines carving up the Canadian defence.
The final score was 50-0, which highlighted both our attacking ability but more importantly our defence to nullify a very physical side. Spirits are high going into our last games against Ontario Province.
Will Routledge (Lower Sixth, Queen Anne)
We started the day arriving at London St. George Rugby Club at 10.30am to take the coach onwards to our days activity. After a short journey making impeccable time we arrived at the right street, at the right time, with only one problem... it was the wrong town! Luckily it was only another short journey to the correct one. The days activity was a three hour paddle down the river in single man inflatable kayaks. We made good progress but the previous evenings match fatigue was noticed, however some wonderful new relationships flourished along the river, notably Arthur Whitehead (Lower Sixth, Queen Anne) and Matt Clarke (Upper Sixth, Swift) who had a lovely days float together. After the relaxing paddle, we arrived at the bank where we enjoyed a barbecue lunch together. After being collected by the coach we arrived back at the rugby club where our hosts were waiting to collect us. During the evening, the hosts treated us each to different activities such as small festivals or dinners, ending what was a wonderful day together.
Will Ward (Upper Sixth, Queen Anne)
We left our second host family early in the morning and said our goodbyes. The team met at the club at 8.30am to be taken to our days activity of Go Karting. This was in my opinion the best activity so far, racing against our peers, followed by burgers and chips and a game of basketball. Soon after we arrived at Victoria University and unloaded our bags, shortly to find out our opposition for our match later had pulled out. Therefore we decided to go to the beach and Mr Holder booked us a table at a Japanese restaurant. However, our moods were lifted before going to bed as we found out that they had managed to arrange another fixture under floodlights on Tuesday night, so we're all looking forward to a game tomorrow.
Will Kent (Fourth Form, Feilden)
The day kicked off with an all-you-can-eat scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage breakfast at 8.30am. Afterwards we walked to the nearby mall through the wet, humid weather. After spending three hours in the mall, a lot of the players had spent more than they hoped for, especially for Hugo who made the most of the Apple store. After having lunch we heard the great news that we had all been waiting for: the game had been confirmed and the travel arrangements finally sorted. After hearing the good news the morale in the camp was lifted and players started their walks back to the University residence in order to prepare for our upcoming game, whilst the slightly lazier players caught a taxi back! Once prepared and ready the squad left the University and travelled to Aurora where a great challenge awaited us.
Alex Swancott (Fourth Form, Vanbrugh)
Cokethorpe Saxons Match Report - Game Three
Wednesday evening marked the final game of the tour for the Saxons squad against Aurora Barbarians Rugby Club. The boys were in high spirits on the back of the two previous wins and were eager to finish the tour undefeated. Right from the start our defence was solid. With physicality being the oppositions greatest posing threat we knew we had to meet them and better them in this area. Through constant pressure in defence and forced errors we made an attack on their line, only before a sublime pass from Ali Grime (Fifth Form, Swift), playing scrum half, sent myself over in the corner for the first try. Moments later an injury to Ali Grime meant the end of his game and a complete reshuffle to the back line. As the game progressed indiscipline cost us as we conceded a large number of penalties from breakdown infringements, which eventually resulted in us being down to fourteen men, this caused for even more alterations in the back line. The extra man proved too much for our defence as Aurora crossed for their first try. After failing to convert however, the scores remained level. Despite nothing really going our way and the conditions ever worsening, strong defence meant that for the rest of the game the opposition didn't create any opportunities to win it. It wasn't until the last play of the game that a counter attack from half way lead to a break and an eventual try from the overlap scored by centre Will Kent (Fourth Form, Feilden) to win the game at the death. A good win in a very tough game against strong opposition. Some brilliant defensive performances in particular flanker Harry Creak (Fifth Form, Feilden) who was named man of the match. And a special mention to those boys leaving Cokerthorpe who played their last ever game for the School. Final score Cokethorpe 10 - Aurora Barbarians 5.
Sam Noble (Lower Sixth, Swift)
Cokethorpe Lions Squad (1st XV) Match Report - Game Three
After a hard days shopping, the fatigue of many was noticeable. However, being it was our last game of the season everyone was keen to go out on a high and pushed through. We arrived at a high school 'football' pitch which had a 4g surface, which many of us were not used to and had to adjust.
The game kicked off under the lights, another first for many, and was played at a high tempo from the start. They pressed to our line a few times, but our defense was too much and they couldn't break us. A first half 40 meter run from Charlie Dyde (Lower Sixth, Feilden) put is in the lead. Unfortunately Archie Fellows (Lower Sixth, Vanbrugh) couldn't convert, I don't think he was used to the 'football' posts. Just before the half, Will Ward-Naranjo (Upper Sixth, Queen Anne) received a questionable red card and Tom Smith (Fifth Form, Swift) had a try disallowed. This further motivated us.
The second half kicked off and our fitness showed as we ran through them with ease and scored a further 20 points with the pack dominating line outs and the break down. The game finished 27-0, meaning the Lions did not concede a point throughout the tour.
A big thank you must be said to our Upper Sixth leavers and our captain, Will Routledge (Lower Sixth, Queen Anne) for a brilliant tour and season. In addition, a congratulations to the man of the match, Charlie Dyde and a special mention to the back row, Matt Clarke (Lower Sixth, Feilden), Tom Smith and Billy Garrett (Lower Sixth, Feilden), who all performed outstandingly.
Rory Atkins (Lower Sixth, Gascoigne)
Today was a leisurely start with the boys being told we did not have anywhere to be until noon. Most of the squad took this opportunity to venture into the city centre for breakfast which was a great chance for us to experience true Canadian culture in the form of Tim Hortons. Thanks to the persistent hard work of Mr Holder we were lucky enough to acquire front row seats to four beach volleyball games at the Panam Games. It was a beautiful day for the event and the tour group was split into the backs and forwards with a coin toss deciding who would support each team every match. The backs got Canada in the first game who, with the home crowd cheering them on, comfortably secured a victory over Guatemala. Unfortunately the backs then lost the subsequent games with the forwards winning the supporting competition 3-1. After the games we ventured on the subway to Nathan Phillips Square where there was a huge stage showcasing music from around the Americas. At the end of the day we made our way back to the university that we were staying at for the final night of the tour.
Toby Watts-Lay (Upper Sixth, Swift)
Our last day started off with everyone packing and clearing out their rooms at Victoria University where we had been staying for the last three nights, so that we could leave for the airport swiftly later in the afternoon. After sorting our gear out we headed off on the subway for our last expedition to the CN Tower, or to irritate Mr Hayne the CNN Tower. We had of course seen the tower in the distance throughout our stay, however once up close you really appreciate the sheer magnitude of it. The elevator shot us up to the top in no time at a speed of 15mph with most peoples ears popping very quickly, the doors then opening to an immediately spectacular view over Toronto where we could finally put all our trips in the area into perspective. Once at the top everyone took the time to take in the view and for those who braved it, the glass floor! Once everybody had enjoyed the view for long enough we gathered down below by the Panam Games Flame, for a short walk back to the shopping mall for some food and a final chance for everyone to find a use for the last remaining dollars they had to spend. To complete our final day we headed back to the university for our final meal together and a chance to give out some awards for the tour. With everyone well fed and packed up we headed off on the coach to the airport for our flight home and after a quiet flight and as Mr Holder commented on, the quietest bus he’d ever been on, we were soon back at School to complete a hugely successful and extremely enjoyable rugby tour.
Toby Watts-Lay (Upper Sixth, Swift)