We counted out 18 of them and we counted them all back in, a successful first tour for the Hoppers Under 7s!
A weekend fuelled by crisps and haribos set off with a good bus journey of singing, waving at cars and general revelry all the way to Middlesbrough. By the time we arrived the players were more than ready for a game and although Middlesbrough put up some good opposition the Hoppers lads were comfortable winners in all their games. The Lads v Dads matches were a different story with end to end drama and last gasp tries marking the difference between the teams, the superior fitness, tagging skills and general organisation meant that the Under 7s always had the upper hand but some wise old tricks kept the Dads in the running.
We won’t talk about Saturday evenings events, what goes on tour stays on tour, but it’s fair to say that a good time was had by all.
Sunday was a wet start and there was major disruption to the organisation of the event. A late start with tired, cold and wet players could have meant a complete meltdown but a few more crisps and haribos and the lads were ready to play. We put out three teams against mighty Northern giants (?) such as Bishop Auckland, Wensleydale, Darlington and Redcar and got good results in all our games. The final match of the weekend was Hoppers Green v Fireflies Green and created more hype and commotion than anything else all tour. Challenges were laid down, between Coaches and Dads, and the lads got on with it. It was fantastic to see the development of all the players over a long season in that final match with some great play by everyone involved and it was probably fair that it ended with a 25-25 draw.
If the elder members of the tour party had hoped for a quiet journey home they would have been left disappointed with more singing and noise all the way back to Preston (even though the crisps had run out!).