From Bury to Barcelona - for a league game!
A WEEKEND away with the lads in one of the greatest cities in the world, having a few beers and playing a bit of rugby.
Sounds like the perfect ingredients for a club tour.
Only the three-day break to Barcelona experienced by the Bury Wolves wasn’t a tour - the 1,000km round trip was for a league game.
The Wolves, the second XV of Bury Rugby Club, have just come back from Catalonia having played the fantastically-titled Poblenou Enginyers.
It was the first taste of Spanish rugby - and hospitality - for the Wolves which culminated in a 36-7 win for the Suffolk side in the Greene King Country Club Championship.
Andy Footer, seconds manager, said: “We wanted to join a new league to improve the playing standards of the Wolves against teams like Bishop’s Stortford and Saffron Walden.
“Then we found out we would be playing a league match in Barcelona and the excitement started to build. We had a few ‘tour virgins’, who had never even travelled abroad and it was great to see them get their first experience of international rugby - as well as taking part in the, shall we say, cultural differences.”
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The club did a small amount of fundraising to help with costs but the players, and a handful of lucky supporters, each paid �150 for the trip - making it easily one of the most expensive playing subs of all time!
Chris Oxborrow, second team captain, said there was some excitement in the air - as well as a few envious glances from the first team playing squad - when Suffolk v Spain was included on the fixture list.
Oxborrow said: “The whole side were really up for making sure we fulfilled this away fixture and it was a great chance for some team building. We travelled on the Friday afternoon with the game played on Saturday evening.
“Poblenou really appreciated us coming to play them and were great hosts as well as a very competitive side.”
The Country Club Championship also contains Newmarket Development and the Honington Hornets who are still to make the trip to the Spanish city.
Noel Younger, chairman of the independent league, said the clubs were asked whether they would accept Poblenou into the championships five seasons ago and were unanimous in their approval.
But while sides like Bury and Honington are making the trip for the first time, other more established teams are starting to show less interest in repeating the long away-day.
But that is a problem for the end of the season as Bury Wolves continue to bask in the glow of a fantastic league adventure.