The Junior French rugby players of Lège Cap-Ferret having brought the sun to Bridport, the town responded with its famous hospitality.
After a strenuous Saturday morning joint training session at Bridport Rugby Club’s grounds, in which immediately the English noted how fast the French backs were, the players were fed the club’s traditional ham, egg and chips lunch, prepared by President Peter Brook and Chairman Julian Hussey. Then, what a welcoming the townspeople gave to the players and coaches of Lège Cap-Ferret. Rib blasts courtesy of Lyme Bay Rib Charter, ice creams at Harbour News and Gifts, Cornish pasties at the Cornish Bakery, photographs being asked for by all and sundry, and a hike over the cliffs to Freshwater Holiday Park.
Then, on Sunday, down to the serious part of the tour. Two games of combined teams, first U13s and U14s and then U15s and U16s. Pulsating rugby ensued, controlled on the pitch by Bridport’s Senior League Rugby Referee Louis Browne. The French backs, even in Bridport’s blue and white shirts, were noticeable for their handling skills and speed, but the English, even in the red of Lège, were the best tacklers. Six Nations repeating itself at junior level! Both games were fast and furious in the amazingly hot April weather, but surprisingly even in combined teams. However the final score was secondary to the calibre of rugby played and the spectators were not disappointed. One move from a scrum went through two mauls and nine hands before a try in the corner. The English ‘Man of the Match’ Awards went to Billy Hannam (U13/U14) and Will Dacey (U15/U16).
The French were then whisked up to Highlands End Holiday Park for a superb Sunday lunch, where sticky toffee pudding proved difficult to translate, but very quick to be eaten. Medals were awarded, and back to the Clubhouse for the usual high jinks (non alcoholic), followed by soup and cheese and biscuits (English Cheddar and Somerset Brie!). Shattered, sleepy, French players came away with a completely new view of English humour, hospitality, and above all the superb spirit of Dorset Rugby. Well done Bridport.