DAY 4:Finals Day
On tour and in matches it's good to have a set routine and the final day was no different. Alarm clocks woke the boys up at 06h00 and it was quick showers before oats and eggs. We had a 400 yard walk to the pick up point. The heat was already high and it took a quick decision from our manager to wave down a friendly pick up for a lift. All the boys and kit piled in and energy was saved.
The final day consisted of 2 second round pools of 4 teams with top 2 going through to the semi-finals. So, if you reached the final you would have played 5 games by the end of the day. In 30 degrees + and a soggy pitch from a downpour the day before. It’s a tough ask for all teams. The final is 10 minutes each way instead of 7 minutes.
The Golden Lions had Invictus (Trinidad side), New York City (USA Northern Olympic development team) who recently played in World Club Champs at Twickenham and Harvard- a strong Trinidad Side.
First up at 09h20 the Esher Golden Lions faced Invictus.
Final score : 33-5 to Esher Golden Lions
Tries: Alex Davolls (1 & 1 cons) Freddie Strange (2 & 2 convs) Rhys Howells (1) Billy Harding (1)
The second game kicked off at 11h20 against New York City.
Final Score: 26-7 to Esher Golden Lions
Tries: Jamie See (1) Ross Fowles (3) Rhys Howells (1) Freddie Strange (3 cons.)
Third game of second round pool was against Harvard, which kicked off at 13h40.
Final Score: 19-21 to Harvard
Tries: Freddie Strange (2 and 2 cons) Tom Curtis (1)
That saw Esher through to the semi-finals where they came head to head with Atlantis. A USA invitational side, who some viewed to be favourites. Kick off was at 15h00.
Final Score: 31-5 to Esher Golden Lions
Tries: Ross Fowles (2) Freddie Strange (1 & 3 cons) Rhys Howells (1) Richard Smart (1)
The Championship final kicked off at 16h00. All the teams came in to watch and cheer on their favourite team. It must be said that Esher had a major majority of the crowd, cheering “Lions”. While some teams had only focused on the tournament, Esher had attended every tournament social, and really won over the hearts of the locals. The support for the boys in the final reflected this.
Esher had played the same New York team in the pool stages and had won convincingly, 26-7. It was time to keep the momentum and same strategy in the final. Esher blew New York away in the first 4 minutes and held a 12-0 lead approaching half time. Unfortunately New York pulled back 7 points with the last play of the half and momentum shifted slightly.
The second half was always going to be a bit tougher, against the breeze and a slight hill.
New York scored 2 more quick converted tries and it really took the wind out of the Golden Lions. New York City had a red card, but it was just too late for Esher. It was a spirited performance and although the boys lost, they could really hold their heads up high.
Final score: 21-12 to New York City.
Tries: Charlie Gossington (1) Jamie See (1) Freddie Strange (1 con)
After a cold shower at the ground, heads picked up and with a cold Carib beer in hand, smiles were quickly back on faces. There was a huge amount of local people that came to the Esher tent to compliment them on a great final, and on how they conducted themselves, and their overall contribution to the tournament.
The bus took the lads to the beach for a cool down session with all the teams. A quick change into fancy dress and it was to Shade nightclub for trophies presentation and the after party. When Esher were announced to walk to the stage for their silver medals, the crowds cheered together and shouts of “Esher, Esher” were loud from the assembled gathering of all the teams. The boys then partied the night away and it was one huge party.
The touring team consisted of:
Richard Smart (Captain)
Chris Kibble (Coach)
Mike Gadbury (Manager)
Fernanda Mayne (Physio)
The team and Esher RFC would like to thank our sponsors who made this trip possible. Tobago Division of Tourism and Golden Holidays. As well as the tournament organisers, Brian Stollymeyer and his team of Rugby Enthusiasts, Bananquit apartments, The whole Island of Tobago, Tobago RFC, Harvard RFC, Brian Lewis, Asswan Lewis, Esher members for buying raffle tickets, Esher sponsors and the club and lastly the whole island of friendly locals in Tobago for making it an experience that will never be forgotten.