Banbridge RFC has always had a long and enviable touring tradition.The club travelled to South Africa (1998) and Canada (2000) as well as visiting UK, Irish and European venues prior to that. With the advent of the AIL league rugby at Rifle Park, Bann’s regular trips to Gort and Peebles faded and it seemed that the good old days of touring might be lost forever.
Luckily some club members had other ideas.
Lyle Cairns got things going again when he ran a ‘one off’ tour to Oldham in 1997 for a match against Duckinfield 2nd XV. You can read about the tour on the Oldham tour page. Unfortunately there are no pictures for this tour as we cannot find the camera they were taken on! The search continues and maybe it will turn up some day.
When Banbridge 1st XV squad travelled to Canada in August 2000, no one thought it would be so long before they embarked on another full pre season Club tour. However this was set right in August 2012 when 38 players, staff and alicadoos travelled to South Africa. You can read more about this tour on the South Africa tour page.
The social touring side has continued every year since 1997 and goes under the name of the Blue Sox XV. Over 130 players from all five teams and alickadoos have travelled all over the UK and Europe.
All Banbridge RFC tours are open to all BRFC club members over the age of 18. Players of all abilities as well as non-playing members and sponsors are encouraged to come along to get together and experience the joys of touring.
What do you get when you tour?
You will share exploits and experiences with your fellow tourists that you will talk about for the rest of your playing days and beyond; stories that, like a good wine, will get better with age. ‘The older we get the better we were!’
‘You had to be there’ never covered an event so accurately.
And of course if you survive 10 Blue Sox tours you will be awarded the much coveted 10 tour tie.
The 17 members who have been awarded the Ten Tour Tie up to and including the 2016 tour are; Collie Broderick, Brian Clinghan, Paul Cairns, Kris Eadie, Andy Fulton, Stevie Gilmore, Austin Hewitson OBE, Mark Lewis, Geoff Little, Stuart Marshall, Roger Martin, Barney McKevitt, Michael McQuitty, Steven Oldham, George Scott, Michael Sneddon, Stuart Wickie.
1997 – Oldham (Duckinfield RUFC 2nd XV)
1998 – Newcastle (Morpeth RFC ‘Edwardians’)
1999 – Cardiff (Treherbert RFC 2nd XV)
2000 – Edinburgh (Edinburgh Academicals RFC ‘Apatheticals’)
2001 – Netherlands (Tilburg RFC and AAC Amsterdam RFC)
2002 – Isle of Man (Ramsey RFC)
2003 – Czech Republic (Tatra Smichov RFC and Ricany RFC)
2004 – Uxbridge (Uxbridge RFC 2nd XV)
2005 – Estonia (Tallinn Tigers RFC and Estonia National 7’s winners)
2006 – Blackpool (Kirkby Lonsdale RFC)
2007 – Germany (Munich RFC and Munich 7’s Q/Finalists)
2008 – Devon (South Molton RFC 2nd XV)
2009 – Portugal (RC Loule and Rugby da Linha)
2010 – Irvine (Irvine RFC select)
2011 – Italy (RC Forli and RC Cesena)
2012 – South Africa (False Bay RFC, Pneil/Kylemore RFC and Kraaifontein RFC)
2012 – Leeds (West Park Leeds ‘Warriors’ RUFC)
2013 – Cardiff (Ynysybwl RFC)
2014- Aylesbury (Aylesbury 2nds)
2015- Bristol (North Bristol RFC 2nds)
2016 – Newcastle (Gosforth RFC Select)
2017 – Galway (Galwegians RFC 3rds)
You can read a report on each tour and see some photos on the respective tour page. All except Oldham that is!
Captain Francis Rawdon Moira Crozier, RN (1796 – 1848)
A true tourist
Secundus ut nullus