The Isle of Wight’s Old Rydeians rugby side enjoyed a successful trip to the prestigious 26th Flanders Open Rugby 10s tournament in Belgium.
The competition – held at Dendermonde Rugby Club – is the largest 10s tournament in the world.
Apart from the hosts the Old Rydeians are the only team to have participated in all 26 previous events and also played in the 15-a-side competition over 30 years ago through a link formed with Ryde School.
Three of the team John Mitchell, Andy Ward and Steve Cullingford-Agnew had all graced the earlier tournament as well when it consisted of just 12 sides.
This year, the tournament incorporated 96 teams from places as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Colombia, Poland, Holland, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Greece.
OR’s started their campaign against a very strong French team , Les Manchots on the main pitch, but despite a sterling defence the OR’s lost 0-20 in a very hard fought match.
The second game brought the Old Rydeians possibly their greatest ever victory with a comprehensive 20-5 defeat of Premiership club Leicester Tigers.
Outstanding defence particularly from the Vaughan brothers, Rich, Rob and Will, Cameron Mitchell, Angus Brown and Caveh Sorayapour stifled their attack and enabled the OR’s to run in four excellent tries much to the delight of the large crowd.
Great teamwork enabled Sam Tyson to pick up a try and Rich Vaughan to score a well deserved double. The final try was touched down by Wil Vaughan.
Considering that the Old Rydeians are basically a scratch side who don’t play together it was a tremendous performance – based on the experience of Greg Dean, Andy Ward, Sam Flux, Jens Michiels and Andy Brown alongside the exuberance of youth!
The final match of the first day was a tricky fixture against Breda Herren from the Netherlands.
Motivated by the previous performance the Old Rydeians again produced a top notch display to come back from two tries down to win 25-15 with well taken tries scored by Angus Brown, Jens Michiels and a hat trick from Rich Vaughan.
The event’s entertainment consisted of an Apres Ski themed party which was enjoyed by all.