On Saturday 18th October, 33 boys and 19 girls, plus 5 members of staff met at Belfast City Airport at 04.30 hrs to catch the early morning flight to Faro, Portugal.
Browns Resort in Villamoura was our resort and base for the WCB 2014 Sports tour. When we arrived at Brown’s it became obvious this was a sports men and women’s paradise. There was, literally, acres of pitches, training facilities, astro turf, not to mention the fitness suites, indoor and outdoor pools.
We were split into groups of 4 (4 boys or 4 girls) and given the keys to our very comfortable apartments. All our meals were provided for us by the resort, which, I have to admit, were pretty good.
The 1stXI girls hockey squad had training sessions most mornings after breakfast. The girls had to travel to Lisbon and Seville for their two games. Reports from these matches suggest that the Spanish referees record the score differently, as there were allegations of match fixing and bad decision making. This probably means they won one and lost one!
The rugby boys played their first match against Gresham College from England who were also out staying at Brown’s resort. Gresham were ranked in the top 30 English schools in terms of their rugby so we knew it would be a tough match. The boys showed a huge amount of commitment and enthusiasm and take a lot of credit from their match even though the final result was 30points to 5 with a sole David Montgomery score the boys only reward for their efforts.
The second match was against the local Loule Rugby club side under floodlights. The 2ndXV boys started the match and although played committed rugby were 24points to 0 down at half time. At half time the team was strengthened with many of the 1stXV coming on. Throughout the half the boys narrowed the gap with the final try being scored in the last minute to make it an unbelievable 24points all. Jamie Dorman stepped up to take a far from straight forward conversion and coolly slotted over the ball for a dramatic two point win.
This was an intense week of sport. The training sessions gave us our first opportunity to train and play competitively in extreme heat and under floodlights. Thankfully the Portuguese St. Johns Ambulance was not required, just buckets of ice and gallons of water and Lucozade Sport.
On the last day many of the party enjoyed a Go Karting championship with Jamie Friel and Mr Phillip Shields taking the honours. We returned home late Wednesday night and many of us slept for most of the next day.
The trip was really well organised; good resort, good food, good fun, plenty of sport, some recreational time, some sightseeing but very little sleep!!
A huge thanks needs to go to Mr Carlisle, Mr Cardwell, Mrs Rose, Mrs Carson and Mr Shields for organising such a great time for us all. We might even let them do it again sometime.
Report by Adam McCluskey.