Mudgee Junior Wombats New Zealand Tour 2008 travel blog

















We woke this morning to look out the window and see more drizzly rain. After breakfast the boys had some free time in the city before we headed to the North Shore for our game with Glenfield College Gryphons.

The opposition looked as scary in warmup as we expected. The school is very multiculutral with players from South Africa, Phillippines, Tonga, Samoa, Maoris and white New Zealanders. The rain became heavier and the wind stronger as the game was going to be played in the conditions you expect from New Zealand.

From the opening whistle, with the wind and rain at their backs, the Wombats showed their superior technique and knowledge of the game. The penalties flowed our way as our team played well disciplined rugby. As a team, they took the big units down and provided well structured ball for the backs. The play went up and down the field in a close contest. Finally the Wombats worked their way into a good position in the opposition half and the backs let loose with great hands and sharp running which resulted in a sensational try to Declan Berridge. Jack Lewsley was unable to convert into the gale force winds.

The score: Wombats 5, Glenfield 0.

The game continued to seesaw like an arm wrestle. Finally the size of the Gryphons started to take its toll and after some strong forward play, the big and strong Glenfield Number 8 scored. The conversion unsuccessful.

The score: Wombats 5, Glenfield 5.

The final few minutes before half time were nailbiting moments as the Wombats struggled to keep the Gryphons out despite numerous attempts on their line. They showed guts, commitment and determination to keep them out. They put their bodies on the line in the name of Mudgee rugby!

Half time score: Wombats 5, Gryphons 5.

The half time talk was about supporting the ball runner, don't leave them isolated and keep up the tackling. James Sheridan was singled out for some sensational tackling around the legs. Big men can't run without legs!

The second half started with the Wombats running into the driving wind and rain. Conditions were not getting any easier and the opposition were not getting any smaller! The game continued to be an armwrestle. Jack Lewsley made an exciting 60m breakout which brought the crowd to their feet. Especially a group of students who started to barrack for the Wombats and were big fans of our black haired boys- Jack and Beau! Despite the big break the Wombats were unable to convert some exciting running into points. The Gryphons made a well constructed play down the left hand side and scored. Conversion successful.

Score: wombats 5, Gryphons 12.

The Gryphons put the Wombats under pressure with the high ball and strong runs using their big men through the middle. The weather conditions, injuries to Lewis and Cody, and the effort to keep tackling the big men took its toll and the Gryphons scored again. Conversion unsuccessful.

Score: Wombats 5, Gryphons 17.

The Wombats never gave up and they kept tackling to the last whistle.

Final score: Wombats 5, Gryphons 17.

Then the highlight of the day was the comaraderie of the Gryphons and Wombats at the end of the game. They came together for a combined team photo. The Wombats burst into their team song and the big Gryphon No. 8 started breakdancing in the middle of the circle.

After the game the players adjourned to the canteen where 60 pizzas were laid out before them. The Wombats were impressed! One of the Gryphon players said a Maori welcome to all the players before they ate.

The Gryphons presented Best and Fairest points to our players.

3 points: Declan Berridge

2 points: James Sheridan

1 point: Jack Lewsley

After the game we headed back to the city with Jenny taking Cody to the Hospital to check out his ankle- just strained ligaments. Everybody sighed with relief!

Back in the city the Wombats started their "Valentines" Tour of NZ. Rendell, our bus driver, has organised us to visit a number of Valentines restaurants around NZ which is an all you can eat buffet which the boys love.

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