In 2019, the Tetbury Ruby Football Club Under 11 team started a £20,000 fundraiser to play a once in a lifetime series of matches against Dublin’s best junior teams.

With the support of Brightpearl, Tetbury Lions, Lanson Polymers, Tetbury Town Council and the Feoffees Of Tetbury, coupled with fundraisers including bag-packing at Tesco, cake sales on match days and a gruelling sponsored walk, they reached their target.

Due to Covid the tour was cancelled three times before it finally went ahead this Easter, with the team now being Under 13s.

The team, consisting of 19 boys, flew from Birmingham to Dublin and straight from the airport went into a match against the Lansdowne Road junior team. The match was played against the incredible backdrop of the Aviva Stadium, home of the Irish Rugby Football Union.

It was a fierce, closely competed match and even though it was the Tetbury team’s first time on a G4 artificial pitch, they quickly adapted to stage a strong come back in the second half before being beaten 37–22.

Day two opened with further coaching by Andrew Cook and Adam Thilthorpe helping the team adapt to the different rules of play in the Irish league.

They travelled to play Dublin’s Coolmine rugby club and this time won 36–12 before a match against their fathers at the GOQUEST centre in Dublin where the parents clawed their way to a narrow one-point victory.

Everywhere the team visited in Dublin they would be asked if they had played the infamous Blackrock squad - this was saved as the grand finale.

The Tetbury team did their best to rise above the formidable reputation preceding the Blackrock team and the atmosphere on entering their clubhouse, where the walls are lined with pictures and caps of their international players.

Tetbury galvanised their game and while the Blackrock club deserve their reputation, they were unable to stop a convincing victory by Tetbury who scored eight unanswered tries. A special mention has to be given to Tetbury’s conversion kicker Ollie Hathaway who braved a broken wrist, to slot his eight conversions.

All help with fundraising has been very much appreciated and as gesture of thanks Tetbury Rugby Junior teams helped the Tetbury Lions with fundraising at The Wacky Races on Monday.