It was a dreary Tuesday morning when the 2011 Lloyd’s RFC tourists met in The City for a tour opening breakfast. Among the glum commuters were the faces of those fortunate enough to have been picked. Old and new portrayed a group of gentlemen shining with a mixture of enthusiasm (moreover unbridled excitement for the latter) and sheer trepidation (clearly the former who have bared witness to previous excursions).
It was, as expected, a not too unfamiliar start to a tour that has become a regular mongst the impressive list of Lloyd’s destinations. Those that knew each other were greeting with open arms, and those that didn’t previously know each other, the same. And so after a light bite the Lime Street boys headed eagerly to Gatwick, and then Bermuda, ensuring that quality hydration was maintained at all times. As every tourist knows, games can be won by the narrowest of margins, and every stage of detailed preparation is as paramount as the next, none more so than keeping the fluids onboard!
Having had a good mornings rest from the first evenings zealous entertainment, the tourists collected at the rugby ground mid‐afternoon to focus and ready themselves for the 5.30pm kick off against a Bermuda team that were predicted to put up a stern test. Despite the lush pitch (rock hard cricket square excluded) and dry weather, the first twenty minutes saw a cagey exchange of attacks with Lloyd’s having the lion’s share of both possession and territory. This was eventually rewarded after a phenomenal driving maul by a Lloyd’s pack that, dwarfing the Bermudans, saw the home side pushed 30 yards up to the try line before a deliberate offside by a Bermudian forced the referee to award a penalty try. This was all the more welcome given the increasing gale force winds that were starting to have an effect on both kicking and passing, and the conversion was taken in front of the posts. Easy, one might think, to notch up 2 more points…. Tom Gregory however decided to challenge himself by taking a longer run up than Roberto Carlos, leading to an inexplicable charge down. It remained 5‐0 for a further forty minutes as Lloyd’s pressed and pressed, with Bermuda also offering some exciting counter‐attacking rugby. This lead to a penalty in front of the posts to be kicked by Lloyd’s, rather than take a scrum or kick to the corner as is normal for tour rugby. By this stage Tom had hung up his boots, allowing Guy House to slot the easy 3 points. The tourists continued to win the majority of collisions, and were one pass away from scoring on several occasions until five minutes from time, when a neat passing move saw substitute and Mr. reliable Chris Copping get on the score sheet with a try in the corner, keeping his 100% scoring record on tour alive. Against the strong wind the conversion was narrowly missed, with Lloyd’s leading 13‐0. Bermuda, credit to them never rolled over, and were rewarded for their efforts at the death, scoring under the posts from a great one‐two break through the line by their impressive 10, 12 partnership.
The final score of 13‐7 was just, although it didn’t reflect the numerous chances both teams had, with the aggressive wind playing a large part in that. Following their win, the tourists remained at the classics ground to watch South Africa narrowly defeat the British Lions, before moving into town in search of deeper drinking wells (the players’ tent not quite withstanding the continued Lloyd’s assault!).
The following morning saw the gentry take to the seas on a boat trip that involved nothing more than a few glasses of iced lemonade, relaxed card games, and the occasional emergency services related performance that was more Fireman Sam than David Hasselhoff. Returning to dry land, the touring party headed back to the Classic to see a tense encounter between Australia and New Zealand, with the Englishmen offering up a sing song that gave the crowd their monies worth, especially given the edgy 10‐7 exhibition they had come to watch.
Twenty‐four hours later, Lloyd’s departed Bermuda with fond memories of a great tour, with many good friends of varying sizes made. The squad were very well looked after and shown tremendous hospitality by the inhabitants of what is fast becoming one of LRFC’s favourite destinations. The satisfied travellers arrived back in the UK at 6am on Saturday with many stories never to be retold.