Rosslyn Park, 20 years on
Travel Places’ Tim Douglas looks back at his time at Rosslyn Park over the last 20 years, on and off the pitch!
It’s 11am on a Wednesday morning in March. Usually at this time I would be back in my old classroom at St John’s Leatherhead, trying to understand the point of algebra. Instead, I am here, with rugby pitches as far as the eye can see, playing rugby in front of Princess Anne. She, as many other supportive parents, is watching her son as we take on Gordonstoun at the Rosslyn Park 7s.
We lose. And Clarky got penalised for a late hit on Peter Philips.
Although we never had much success at Rosslyn Park I still recall my days at the tournament in the early to mid nineties with fondness.
I used to love the whole day. Arrive at school early and jump straight into the minibus. The anticipation driving up the A3 was tangible. We were brothers in arms. The whole Sevens season leads up to this and we had been training for weeks to do ourselves justice at Rosslyn Park.
As I arrived I always remember the pride of feeling part of such a special event – the shear size of the tournament, the overwhelming expanse of rugby pitches, minibuses all around, the smell of bacon rolls – the buzz. Playing teams we had never heard of, from parts of the country I barely knew existed; it was all part of the joy and challenge of the event.
This was, of course, before the internet and mobile phones. On the rare occasion my Dad wasn’t able to come and watch, I had to update him on our results, match by match and in much detail as soon as he got home. There was definitely no live streaming of matches at this point!
I didn’t appreciate at the time, that this was the last time we would play together as a team. It is, of course, the last event of the rugby season before the Easter break and the cricket whites come out. Rosslyn Park 7s brings down the curtain on your schoolboy rugby career and what an event to go out on.
Of course, now the Rosslyn Park HSBC National Schools 7s is bigger and better than ever, and continues to improve year on year. It is incredible to think that there will be 9,000 boys and girls playing this year. The thing that really stands out to me is the standard of rugby; it is off the charts and such a wonderful spectacle, a real social family environment. When my boys get older, I hope I can watch them take part in this flagship schoolboy event too.
This year, as last, I will be back at Rosslyn Park – no longer on the pitch unfortunately, but with Travel Places in a marquee on the main pitch. We are really excited to be back again and sharing in the week’s trials and tribulations with you all.
Please come and see us to hear about our fantastic range of tour options and pre-season training camps. We are also offering the chance to win tickets to upcoming England World Cup warm up matches against the Barbarians in June at Twickenham, and Italy in September up in Newcastle. And, if that’s not enough to tempt you we will of course have our in-house ‘Small Batch’ (the best coffee) barista and good old rugby banter!
See you there!
First published Rosslyn Park National Schools Sevens email, 27th Feb 2019
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