The Mackie Mammoths have recovered from their tour in Guildford in September and have this week told us in their own words about the experience.
“It was a dark and mild morning when 17 kilted Scottish Mammoths, including an extra special Irishman, two Englishmen and a German, boarded a plane heading towards lush and balmy Surrey.
After being joined by another German at Heathrow, the weekend started in great form with a culturally appropriate full English breakfast. That was followed by our first activity of day one, namely the Premier Enclosure at Sandown, a beautiful setting in the glorious autumn sun. Money was won, money was lost but many ales were consumed.
A happy troop of wanna-be athletes boarded the coach for the brisk journey to The Stoop, where we all, with the exception of Jake Meston, enjoyed the company of a 25,000 crowd to watch Saracens take on Harlequins. Although a total nightmare of a game for Quins, losing 39-0, the Mammoths enjoyed themselves.
Already knackered, we made our way to Guildford Rugby Club. A magnificent setting of five pitches, training park and a club house that many companies for who our Mammoths work would be envious, greeted us. The sun had once again come out to play. And then it got serious….it suddenly dawned on us that we actually had to run around the park now.
We took the field of play Guildford first. A strong performance from a Veterans team that plays weekly showed us how it was done.
Needless to say, despite a typically stubborn and patriotic defence, our chains started coming apart and they ran a few tries past us. Weybridge Vandals were next on our list, again a Vets team that play in the same league as Guildford.
We had learned from the inspirational post match talk from our captain Neil Leitch that we must try harder. We showed the Vets that we too can stand up and be counted. We tackled everything in sight, and we deservedly ended the afternoon with an incredible 3-3 draw. A fantastic achievement for the Mammoths.
The Mammoths had come to England, played a superior set of teams, drawn one of them and then succeeded in completely taking over the bar.
Back to the rugby club we went the next afternoon, to be greeted by our last organised hour of entertainment. The Pilgrim Brothers had kindly offered to provide Morris Dancing tuition. For over 90mins, they had us smacking each other with sticks, prancing around to classic Morris Dancing tunes.
After all that excitement, we all retired to a country pub to fill our boots at a fantastic carvery all washed down with more ale. Some more songs were sung, stories told and laughs were plentiful! So much so that we almost forgot to go home! By the skin of our teeth, we made the flight and a tired bunch of Mammoths started the long trek north to their loved ones and their beds!
The tour may be over for another year, but Guildford Rugby Club will always be remembered as outstanding hosts and friends for years to come.
The planning has started once more. Monflanquin 2015, a small but passionate wee rugby playing town outside Bordeaux awaits us. If you are only slightly considering how envious you are of us after Guildford 2014, then pop on your boots and come on down. We all need a little down time….what better way to have this, but with friends, a rugby ball and some sun.
The Mammoths train at 11.30am on a Saturday at the home of Mackie Rugby, Redcloak, and are on the lookout to increase membership. There is no pressure to play a match, just get yourself down there for a run around and a fun social scene.