RUGBY: Old Laurentians' centenary celebrations continue with Veterans Tournament

Old Laurentians host a Veterans Tournament at Fenley Field on Saturday, August 31
Old Laurentians host a Veterans Tournament at Fenley Field on Saturday, August 31

Family fun day and beer festival alongside the action too

OLs gear up for Centenary Season

This season marks 100 years of Old Laurentian rugby and the programme of events to celebrate is already under way. It all started with a Centenary Ball on July 13 when a large and lavishly appointed marquee at Fenley Field saw over 300 revellers enjoy a magnificent occasion.
It continues on Saturday 31st August when Fenley Field hosts a Veterans Tournament, the second to be staged for the Mike Lewis Memorial Cup. As well as what promises to be an entertaining day of rugby it features a Fun Day for all the family and a Beer Festival, when OL’s specially brewed Centenary Ale will make its debut.
The tournament is staged to coincide with the latest trip to these shores of OL’s old friends Metropolis RFC from Minneapolis, USA, continuing a strong and enduring relationship which stretches back for nearly 30 years. A Metropolis Vets team will feature in the tournament; and a mixed team of Metropolis Under 35s and OLs will play a match against a Rugby St Andrews XV on the same day.
To complete the picture for the centenary season, a whole new range of playing kit and casual wear has been designed and produced and is expected to be on show at the Vets Tournament.

Alongside the Vets Tournament and Beer Festival the Family Fun Day will include face painting, bouncy castle, tombola, archery, hot food, stalls and lots more. Entry is free and there promises to be lots to entertain all the family. Everyone is invited to go along to the ground in Lime Tree Avenue and support Old Laurentian's RFC and their Mini and Junior sections.

Old Laurentian's RFC has one of the largest Mini and Junior Rugby Sections in Warwickshire and includes teams for boys and girls from Micros (reception ages 4/5) up to U16's, girls contact and non-contact teams and many more. Coaches and players from all age-groups will be present on the day so it's an ideal opportunity to have a chat.

The club will always welcome new players and any child wanting to give rugby a go is invited to go along to their first training session on Sunday, September 8 at 10.30am.

Regarding their Centenary, Chairman Andrew Spriggs said they are all looking forward to the special season with high hopes.
“From 1919 when the lads came back from war and formed a rugby and football club with a committee meeting in the Dirty Duck and played their first game against New Bilton St Oswalds, we are always building on that legacy, developing and changing,” he said.
“We are making sure the club is right for the modern era, which is what our forefathers would have wanted.
“From originally being a grammar school boys team we are all inclusive, with five senior teams, ladies and minis and juniors and everybody is welcome.”
Having just missed out on a play-off place in the league last season, the chairman added: “We want to have a good season and again our aim is to achieve promotion.”

On the playing side, pre-season training started back in June and a number of friendlies have been arranged, starting with a game between an OLs 2nd/3rd team selection and Rugby Welsh earlier in the month which produced an entertaining and full-bore encounter ending in a narrow win for OLs.
Next up was a 1st XV trial game at Lutterworth when the absence of a number of regulars meant the opportunity for some of the up and coming players from last year’s highly successful 2nd XV to stake a claim, along with some players new to the club. In an entertaining game the home team, who play their league rugby one level above OLs, came out on top but OLs gave an excellent account of themselves. Showing up well were 1st team debutants on the wings, Ben Fincham and Dave Bunting; and at number 8 newcomer Alex Folwell caught the eye, along with fellow forwards Byron Coulson and the returning Tom Hill.
A particularly welcome sight was the return to action after a long absence of full back Grant Inch, who looked fit and ready to return to the colours this season.
A final trial is organised for Friday 30th August when another Midlands 1 team, Market Harborough, will visit Fenley Field for a 7.00pm kick off, preceded by a game between the two clubs’ Colts teams at 6.00.
Competitive action gets under way on September 7 when Barkers Butts will visit Fenley Field for a Warwickshire Shield 1st round game, followed a week later by a trip to Nuneaton Old Edwardians for the first league encounter in Midlands 2 West (South).