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Rugby: Wanstead enjoy France tour

PUBLISHED: 15:30 02 November 2017

Wanstead players face the camera in France

Wanstead players face the camera in France

Archant

Wanstead Rugby Club youngsters enjoyed a tour to Amiens in France to play in a festival and commemorate fallen soldiers and players from the First World War.

Wanstead's touring party at a First World War memorial in France Wanstead's touring party at a First World War memorial in France

After an early 4.30am start from their New Wilderness base, the Herons saw their ferry crossing delayed by stormy weather.

But they saw Harry Turner convert a Kyle Jones try to earn a 7-5 win over Amiens in their opening game.

Harry Gibson opened the scoring against a bigger, more physical Dunkirk side, with a forceful run for a try converted by Turner.

But the hosts levelled within minutes before tempers boiled over and they had two players sent off, along with one from Wanstead’s party.

Dunkirk took the lead in the second half and added another after running the length of the field, as Wanstead tired.

And the tourists were hampered by injuries and heavy legs as they conceded two tries in their first game of the day to Arras.

The squad enjoyed a trip to Le Chateua du Broutel in Rue the next day, where they took part in abseiling, archery, shooting, zip-wire and an assault course, before returning to their hostel and heading off to a local bowling alley.

After an early night, they visited the Lochnagar Crater and Thiepval Memorials, where the names of more than 70,000 soldiers whose bodies were never recovered from the field of battle are listed.

These include former Heron EBD Brunton, who is also listed on the memorial outside the Wanstead clubhouse, and his name was pointed out by the squad’s tour guide.

Club President Mike Calvert gave the boys an emotional speech on the folly of war and to remember to stick together and look after each other as they had done on the pitch the day before.

Players were then given an opportunity to look around the monument before boarding their coach for the trip home to Wanstead.

A club spokesperson said: “Well done to all the lads who contributed to an incident-free fun weekend, the great touring adults and coaches, to all at the club who made it possible and John Dennison our French travel advisor.”

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