OVER the Easter holidays, a combined tour party of Old Penarthians Under 14s and Under 15s teams visited Spain’s Costa del Sol on what was the first ever overseas tour by junior players from the club.

Consisting of 97 players, coaches, parents and siblings, the tour party left the Old Penarthians’ clubhouse on two coaches just before midnight on Easter Sunday.

Flying out of Stanstead and Gatwick airports early the next morning, the party stayed in the holiday resort of Fuengirola.

After a day of rest and recuperation, the first game of the tour took place on the Tuesday afternoon at Club de Rugby del Estrecho, situated in San Roque.

The Under 14s team were first to play and ran out 19-12 winners in a highly entertaining match, scoring three tries to two.

In the second match, the Old Penarthians under 15s team took on a very strong Estrecho under 16s side who, despite a valiant effort from the younger Old Pens boys, triumphed by 49-12.

There was great support for both teams with the Estrecho hosts treating players and families to a paella and pitch-side drinks after the match.

After a further free day in Fuengirola and a trip to Gibraltar, the tour party returned to Club de Rugby del Estrecho for the second round of matches on the Thursday evening.

The Under 14s once again ran out winners, this time beating the Estrecho team comfortably by 31-7, scoring five tries to one to finish the tour unbeaten.

In a hard fought and physical encounter, the Old Pens Under 15s put in a much improved display to score three tries and push Estrecho Under 16s close, but ultimately going down by a margin of one converted try with the game finishing 26-19 to the hosts.

In the final match of the day, Jack Hughes, travelling with the Old Pens tour party played in a seniors friendly game for Estrecho against the Gibraltar national side, in what was a warm-up game for their forthcoming match against Sweden.

After the match, coaches and supporters from both sides mingled and enjoyed drinks and food in the pitch side bar.

Speeches and presentations were made, with the Old Pens presenting Estrecho with club ties and plaques as well as bottles of Penderyn whisky and Brecon Gin.

In return Estrecho presented Old Pens with Estrecho club shirts and trophies.

The evening was concluded with the Old Pens tour party treating the President, coaches and supporters of Estrecho to a rousing rendition of Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau before departing back to the hotel prior to returning to Wales on the Friday.

The tour was a culmination of 9 months of fundraising led by coaches of both age groups with strong support from parents and players alike.

Fundraising activities included a car wash and barbecue, several supermarket bag packs, a band night in the Paget Rooms and a Quiz Night at the Old Pens clubhouse.

Over £10,000 was raised to pay for all players to go on the tour and for branded tour hoodies.

Specially designed polo shirts were also produced for the tour which were kindly sponsored by Capital Network Solutions.

The tour is a further indication of the continued growth and success of the Old Penarthians’ mini and juniors section which, in only 9 years has grown to over 350 players across age groups ranging from under 6 up to under 16, including a girls rugby team.