The Friday night had been a fairly muted evening… Wyverns were represented at the meeting of the IGR clubs held after the matches where bids were presented by Newcastle Ravens and Madrid Titanes for the rights to host the 2017 Union Cup. There was also debate between clubs on format of future tournament and we were able to put forward our views alongside the largest clubs in gay rugby.
A few drinks were had in Gay Street and the traditional man of the match became man of the day and was awarded to Simon Fullick for his tackling, good control of high balls and general all-round solid play, while d**k of the day went to Captain Morgan for leadership in the field of getting sin binned… But after a few drinks, we retired home, knowing we had a longer lie in and a 10:00 coach.
Bowl Quarter Final:
Wessex Wyverns V Madrid, 12:00
We were back on pitch 1 which, despite some light rain overnight, still resembled the surface of the moon. We warmed up as the previous game was finishing off and were getting nervously excited for the game. As we did so, we realised that Madrid had also called in the cavalry… Again, the format of the tournament was not in our favour. The Cup Quarter Finals had been held first thing in the morning and some of the fancied seeded teams had been knocked out, leaving their players with no more games. This meant we saw that the Madrid team (who had merged with the Stockholm Berserkers) were supported with players from the Emerald Warriors, Straffe Ketten and our old friends The Amsterdam Lowlanders. Undaunted, we took to the field.
The game started brightly enough as Wyverns took an early 5-0 lead through a Kev Morgan try. But it didn’t take long for Madrid's 'expanded' team to stretch their legs. They managed to run in three tries in fairly quick succession and Wyverns soon found themselves staring at a 17-5 deficit. We never gave up though and midway through the second half Number 8, Lewis went over for a try which he managed to convert himself to make it 17-12. Injuries took their toll, however, with two Wyverns going off. Thankfully our friends from Birmingham Bulls were happy to pull on the black, red and gold and helped us out for the last few minutes., The efforts were in vain, however, and in the last 5 minutes of the match, Madrid ran over two more tries to finish the game 31-12.
The Wyverns were out of the competition. While we were disappointed with our results, we took heart from the fact that we had established ourselves as a club who could take a full side to a European tournament and who had made friends across the continent.
We spent the rest of the day enjoying the sun - and the beer - and watching as our friends from Cardiff Lions continued to play in the Bowl competition. Had we defeated Madrid we would have played Cardiff in the semi-final, instead we watched and supported them as they progressed to the final. They ultimately beat King's Cross Steelers 7-0 in the final as the Wyverns cheered them on and joined in the rousing chorus of 'Bread of Heaven'!
And so, we came to the Saturday party. The presentation ceremony was held back at the convention centre and awards were given, photos were taken and the Wyverns won their first award of the weekend as we witnessed our winger, Lee, perform a winning dance routine of interesting morality… The party continued down into Gay Street and the sun was well and truly back up in the heavens.
The less said about the Sunday evening the better, for, as well all know, what goes on tour stays on tour. Your author will just add that he hopes all concerned washed their hands after…
And so, we trudged home to England and the fields of Wessex. At the start of the weekend no-one knew where Wessex was or what a Wyvern was (or how to damn well pronounce it). By the time we left Brussels, we had made sure knew who Wessex Wyverns were and that we were heading to Madrid with one intention - silverware.
Picture by: Patrick Hughes