We were both expecting to be told of grannies dying and weddings and anniversaries that weekend as an excuse not to go (Elgie even apologised without knowing the date!) but this did not happen and the response from the players was one of elation at the thought of a weekend away with the boys. There was even talk of raising a second/third XV to play before the main event.
I remembered our last NPI cup tie when we reached the last 32 of the same cup a few years back. It was against Westcombe Park and they arrived and departed victors having put in a thoroughly professional performance both on and off the park. This was what I wanted for Kenilworth's trip to Penryn.
Arrangements were made to travel down in separate cars and erstwhile drivers were selected (ie those with company cars who had their fuel paid!). A suitable hotel was found in Newquay at a ridiculously low cost for two nights and all was set. Huw picked his probable team and four subs and another two for good measure and the lucky ones were advised on the Tuesday before the game. Roomies were paired off on the Thursday night and directions handed out and everyone was told to assemble for Dinner in Newquay on the Friday night at 7pm.
The hotel was superb although you would think twice about taking your wife there, particularly if there was a rugby club staying. There was a pool, a Jacuzzi, a snooker table, a pool table and a table tennis table (where poor Rupert got a drubbing from Alan Fisher). These activities were most welcomed by the players as Huw had asked for moderation on the Friday night and I am glad to report that this was, or appeared to be at least, taken on board by all the players. The Fishers, Chris and Willie left them to it on the Friday night and found a nice wee curry house followed by a superb Irish band in the local Irish pub. We returned to twenty three happy and contented campers all tucked up in their beds – apart from our refugee from Home and Away, Brett who was parading around the reception in his boxers having been for 5000 lengths in the hotel pool.
Despite being last in Chris and Willie were first down for breakfast. Reg appeared in a bit of a daze – he had never experienced a Saturday morning without a hangover before. He asked for some of that Cornish milk that was off and smelt a bit. "You mean clotted cream" replied the waitress who then proceeded to give Reg as good as she got. When told there was no apple juice Reg requested that she went next door to the garage then said he would settle for a pint of scrumpy instead. The lads then went for a stroll to downtown Newquay to eye up the talent on show for later that night. Peter and Nick arrived at ten past nine having taken three hours ten minutes to drive the 260 miles to Newquay (that is an average of 82 miles per hour). They had a surprise additional passenger, Mike Carrick. The team then assembled at 11.00am for a chat and some soup and toast and by 12noon we were on our way to Penryn, arriving one hour later.
The first impressions were that Penryn were a bigger club in the not too distant past. They had a nice wee set up and had posters of Penryn v British Lions up on the wall. Apparently they had played Coventry in a quarter final cup tie in 1972 before 6000 people. Our supporters (all eight of us) were well looked after, even more so when the barman spotted us putting £20 a head into a kitty. Geoff Payne the Warwickshire President and Roger Draper from the Coventry Evening Telegraph were also in attendance. Some more supporters came out of the woodwork, these including Tom Moon's family who were disappointed that Tom had not made the final nineteen and Dommie's Auntie and Uncle from Falmouth. A Wib and Barbara Wilkins appeared on the scene – they had been involved with Kenilworth some ten years ago. Dean Stephenson appeared with his future bride Helen and he was talked into doing the match report.
The game was played and won with a truly superb professional performance. Jock hooker scored the first try much to chairman Chris's delight as he had him in the sweep. It was the first time ever Chris has applauded a Scottish try. Willie's hip flask had to be re-charged and there was a request to the coach to go easy on the tries as we were running out of kitty money. Jimmy scored the final try and the supporters and subs and coaches went wild. If ever anyone deserved a score it was Jimmy on the day (but not the night unfortunately). The one down point was a bad injury to cult hero Nick Glasheen who had to go to Truro Hospital for stitches to a bad cut in his leg. This brought on Aussie Brett for his first XV debut.
After the game beers were had and presentations given and taken and before long we were on our way back to Newquay. Whilst travelling through Truro we noticed a sign for the hospital and we thought we should go and see if our man Nick was ready to be picked up. After a wait of about 30 minutes Nick appeared to tumultuous applause and we continued on our way back to Newquay – and a court session. Lee did the hacka, Powelly sang Delilah and Jimmy sang Ba Ba Black Sheep and we were back.
DFS's court session saw fines for most people including a disgruntled club chairman for 'never dipping into his pocket' – "what about the champagne you had after the game then and the money I won from the sweep" replied Chris but a further fine followed. Jimmy was given the Man of the Match award and his reward was to down a horrible looking concoction that we, and a surprised doorman to a pub, were to see later. The boys departed up town resplendent in their new first XV polo shirts for a night of celebration and a morning of sore heads. For some reason that fine athlete Dicky was given a first XV polo shirt. Dan Filby also ventured out to enjoy himself with the lads. Two of the lads thought they had scored but apparently the referee was unsighted and could not see the touch downs. Neither did they despite the kind act of Dommy to shampoo the carpet in anticipation of their return.
Breakfast came around again and Reg announced that it felt like a Saturday morning. We all departed and re-convened for even more beers back at the place it had all started some 48 hours earlier. Stories were told that cannot be repeated here and all agreed it had been one hell of a trip and experience that we must look to do again.
For the record our try scorers were Neil McComiskey, Reg Varney, Mat Hodder, Johnny Mew and Jimmy Middleton with two penalties and three conversions from Wayne Morgan.
Thanks chaps. It was our aim to put on a thoroughly professional performance both on and off the field and this we certainly did. Roll on Twickenham – I look forward to wearing my kilt in the Rose Room!