Tour to Leicester proves to be a major success for rugby club members

Captain Andy Mackey with his substantial front row and past players Raymond Acheson and Graham Currie.
Captain Andy Mackey with his substantial front row and past players Raymond Acheson and Graham Currie.

Lurgan Rugby Club’s senior section recently returned from a very successful tour to the heartland of English rugby in Leicester.

The touring party was a mixture of youth and experience and were joined by a number of players who have previously played for Lurgan who are now working or living in England and Scotland.

Lurgan RFC on Tour.

Lurgan RFC on Tour.

It was great to see these past players such as Alex Weatherall, Alistair Gough, Simon Whittaker and Adam Ferman.

With the original plan being for two matches Lurgan’s past players had also brought a couple of their current clubs players down with them. These were James Wheldon, Kevin Greathead and Mark Fitzsimmons who all play for Mellish RFC in Nottingham.

The team hosting Lurgan were Belgrave Rugby Club who were founded in 1883 which is only three years after Lurgan Rugby Club was founded.

The similarities did not end there as they also have a similar size of membership and a cricket section.

Security checking up on the Tour Mascot's (Andrea) are Keith McBride, Dylan Gill and Ben McIlwaine. What sound does a Unicorn make anyway?

Security checking up on the Tour Mascot's (Andrea) are Keith McBride, Dylan Gill and Ben McIlwaine. What sound does a Unicorn make anyway?

Bill Walter is a previous member of Belgrave RFC before joining Lurgan RFC as a playing member.

Bill was kind enough to arrange this fixture and to also provide significant prizes for a raffle carried out by the Club as fund raisers for the tour.

Belgrave RFC have just won their league so were in high spirits and eagerly anticipating Lurgan’s arrival.

Unfortunately Belgrave were unable to field an over 35s team at the last moment so it was decided to use rolling subs to ensure that everyone in Lurgan’s large touring party got a game.

The score was tied at 7-7 on 80 minutes but the ball was not dead.

Belgrave used decoy runners to good effect and switched the play to finish scoring in the corner.

The conversation was missed and the final score ended with a Belgrave win of 12–7

There were so many positives to be taken from this performance and indeed from the tour in it’s totality.

First tour in several years, a great response and a great amount of players went on the tour, all of the players who wore the jersey did the club proud on and off the pitch.

Belgrave were great hosts and provided a meal and entertainment after the match and were even gracious enough to allow Lurgan to have their “Court Session” in their club house.

Andy Macky, Club Captain presented Belgrave’s President with a Lurgan Club Plaque and club ties.

Belgrave have asked to be facilitated by Lurgan in a forthcoming reciprocal tour.

So successful was the tour that a Touring Committee will be formed in the coming weeks to take on a more exotic destination for next years tour... rumour has it that Prague is on the radar.