Swans U11 enjoyed a break from training at Bestwall this weekend with an inspirational trip to Exeter Chiefs.
Two mini buses set off on a wet Saturday morning from Wareham for the depths of Devon, carrying a group of excited mini and junior players.
As we arrived at the gates of Sandy Park, the home of Premiership high flyers Exeter Chiefs, the clouds had started to part and glimpses of sunshine welcomed us along with the attentive staff at the Chiefs.
The morning would involve a two hour training session run by the Exeter players where the Swans got stuck in with a number of other visiting sides on their state of the art 3G artificial pitch.
All aspects of the game were covered with handling and tackling drills interspersed with fun rugby games. Swans put on a good show often ending as the last man standing in bulldog!
Training was followed by a guided tour of the stadium where the players got an all access insight to the behind scenes on match day.
This included seeing the physio facilities, weights room [where we noted the 70KG dumb bells!] ice bath, and the Chiefs changing room
which was laid out ready for the match later in the afternoon.
Lunch was enjoyed while we watched the England v New Zealand game on the big screen and then the time had come for the Swans players to form the guard of honour as the Chiefs ran onto the pitch to take on Bath in the LV Cup match.
A hard fought first half was played out with scoring tricky to come by with two resolute defences holding firm. At half time the Swans were invited onto the pitch and completed a lap of honour with great support from the home crowd.
The second half kicked off and again was tightly fought under the floodlights. A few missed opportunities from Bath came back to bite them as Exeter took control in the last 20 minutes and winning 18 - 6. This was much to the delight of most of the Swans U11s however there were a couple that weren’t so excited [no names mentioned!]
After the match the Swans were able to get pitch side and meet some of the players and get photos and autographs which they clearly loved.
A special mention for Exeter and England winger Jack Nowell who paid special attention to the visiting kids and stayed out to sign everyones programme or ball. Top bloke.
A special thank you to Jez for organising a such an inspirational day that will hopefully live in the memories of all the kids involved and inspire them to bigger and better performances on the pitch. Also a big thanks to all the parents that drove the mini buses.
Finally thanks to all the kids that attended in both the U11’s and other sides, you were a credit to Swanage and Wareham and represented the club impeccably.