SHANE TUPAEA has described Saddleworth Rangers U15s’ highly successful tour to the Czech Republic as proving to be a kiss of death.
“Since we got back, we haven’t won a game in division two of the North West Counties League, though to be fair we have quite a few injuries,” lamented the U15s coach.
Rangers won all three matches in the Czech Republic, a new tour destination. The youngsters defeated the Czech national team 68-22, Mad Squirrels 62-20 and Krupka Dragons 70-34 during their week-long stay at Teplice, a town near the German border.
Shane was delighted with the trip, especially the game against the national team.
“To play an international side and have the national anthems played beforehand was one hell of an experience for the lads,” he explained.
“The lads played unbelievably well in all three games, especially the Test match. Our opponents in every match were physically stronger than us, but we moved the ball well and caused damage out wide.”
Shane explained how the trip came about: “The U15s have historically gone to France where they have received some drubbings.
“Though they were supposed to be U15 games, we would see players driving away from grounds after we had played them.
“We thought we would try our luck elsewhere and were looking at Italy until a tour company came up with the Czech Republic and it seemed too good an opportunity to turn down.”
The U15s tour each year and tour manager/fundraiser Rachel Wood co-ordinated the collecting of the £33,000 needed.
The players, who began fundraising as U14s, carried out bag packs at Tesco while there were two comedy nights, a party on the pitch, fell run and matchday collections. Local businesses and sponsors contributed £4,500.
There was a party of 46 that included 21 players, though three were injured, who went on the trip. Apart from the games, they had a day trip to Prague and also to a water park.
Rangers need junior players of all ages. Contact Rachel Wood on: 07939 606096 for more information.