team photo

Tour Tales by Chris Buckton

Train selfie

Despite being part of the Ravens for over a year at the time of the tournament, Covid events had prevented me from playing full union. My first full game was only the weekend before Thebans. Therefore, due to my lack of game and union experience in the weeks leading up to the tournament, I felt anxious at what to expected and nervous. Having said this, these feelings where outshone by excitement to get stuck into games, meeting other IGR players and spending time with my own team making memories!

Train selfie

The journey up was one of the special moments from the weekend, before the cuts, bruises and tiredness that followed. On the morning the energy and excitement from everyone was radiating. As we got the train up to Edinburgh, the nerves and anxiety I had felt in the weeks prior were, at this time, non-existent.

Registration

I had no expectations for the registration night. Therefore when I walked into a room full of 200+ IGR players it was slightly overwhelming. This very quickly changed as clearly the atmosphere was very uplifting and everybody was just having a fun and a drink. It was comforting to have my team close by but also great that it was an opportunity to chat to other IGR players. A fantastic opener for the weekend.

Training

As a new-ish player I found the Friday training extremely useful for skills. One of my favourite parts of the day was right at the word go. A group warm up session was held and this was full of laughter and some point I definitely lost balance and almost hit the deck! Then it was onto the training. The timings of each station felt largely forgotten, however this didn't slow down the adrenaline of the day. Left feeling like I had learnt some things and other skills I had learnt in training had clicked into place.

Friday night

After a team dinner I ventured out for a few hours on the Friday evening. The entertainment that was provided was perfect - they knew their audience! Great opportunity to build on friendships with people you met on registration night. Looking back it may not have been the best idea for a full night out before match day, or maybe I should have not overindulged?!

Bucky being tackled

The matches on Saturday where a mixed bag – a very hard opener against an experienced Cardiff side, a tens game we arranged with the London Stags, then a more evenly matched game against Steelers 2XV. A massive highlight, one which I have milked for weeks, is getting my very first Union try for the Ravens! It wasn't the action of putting the ball to ground over the try line that made me happy, it was the applause from the team and all the well dones after that really made it for me. A moment I will remember for a long time.

 player tunnel

Saturday night was one of my favourite evenings of the weekend. Everyone getting dressed up together for a night out which made for an excellent atmosphere. I decided to go a different direction on my "gods" theme costume and fashioned a "Poseidon on holiday" look. After all, we were all on a little holiday!

fancy dress

Overall I am going to cherish these first Thebans Clinic memories for a while. The fun, the rugby, the tiredness all intertwined to make a great weekend of bonding with other IGR teams and my own team mates. I would 100% do it all over again.