As the storm clouds gathered above Cape Town, the indomitable Dynamiters were preparing to fly out on a mission to conquer the mighty rugby powerhouse that is the Czech Republic..
26 lads with green soldiers at the ready, left CT international airport on 5 June, but first stop was to pick up 2 overseas reinforcements in Amsterdam en route to Prague… A crucial part of the preparation for this motley crew was the “tour de Amsterdam” which consisted of a grueling cycle race round the streets of the Dutch capital.. Thankfully no injuries occurred as the dedicated team of rugger buggers negotiated every street turn , every hill and every bar that was placed in their way, to finish the race unscathed .
On to Prague where 4 more reinforcements were met, and the preparations began… there was a tournament to win and a beer drinking record to break!
Don my Lord Ross insisted upon a game of warm up touch, and a park was found.. The 30 playing members, including late recruit Kevin “Northern Free State” Griffin, played some warm-up touch before a scrumming session lead to an almighty brawl which reminded one of the Lions tour of ’74… So much competition for places… Scrumming? When old crocks is uncontested? Well… Yes, but the Dynamiters are not your every day garden variety crocks….
Fines meetings were short and curt, and terribly unfunny…. Lead as usual by the unflappable “Frantic Bushpig” Tucker, and Spotty “convict ” Watson, they were hard work and will be banned from future tours, as will Buffalo rules and the like… Deon Falcon Adams insisted on this..
The loudest tour members, failed footbAllers, Brudge Ray, and Anton Welchie Welch, along with the Oracle Reags Anderson and Lolly Edwards, were making serious but silent strides in the fight for starting lineup places, as our coach the Duke Berry started his motivational talks with the aplomb of Eddie Jones..
Everyone from Dennis in the Nick to coach Dean would play, all would go to war (Snowy, Dennis’s now ex friend insisted that Dennis get at least a minute, preferably without the silence bit!!)
As Saturday the 10th dawned the weary Dynamiters groups made their way down to the beautifully set field to start their quest for an overseas trophy , which, if successful would be their first since Cambodia 2012…One could feel the determination, even as Griff cracked open his first beer at 9.30 am… Stu Gunners had tried so manfully to speak sense into his fellow Welshman, but it was like the blind leading the deaf…
Clad in their kit which was designed as a replica of the very first Hamiltons jersey, the boys were looking forward to a tourney which consisted of 15 minute matches, encapsulating 3 pool games and a final
The first game was against a French side which of course meant it was a curtain raiser of sorts to the test between SA and France later in the day back home!
As expected, the French were physical, but, despite an understandable slow start and two disallowed tries, the Dynamiters got their act together and scored a 4 tries to nil win
In the other pool, an at times overly aggressive Malta side looked the pick of the bunch, though they needed a last minute try to edge the other French side in the competition…
The second game for the Dynamiters was against an Italian team from near Rome -an unknown factor… The Dynamiters hit their straps earlier this time and blew their opponents away with some eye-opening rugby, pretty much dominating play and scoring 6 tries without reply…
Our final pool game was against our hosts -Praha rugby club… The locals had looked like a well coached team with good structure and some big strong European toppies in their line-up.. Essentially the winner of our clash would contest the final…
A really enjoyable encounter saw the Dynamiters enjoy less possession than in the previous two games, but this also allowed them to show of their immovable and at times quite frightening defensive skills! Big hits from both sides were the order of the day, and at times one might have thought it wasn’t a crocks game.. 4 tries to nil to the Dynamiters – a really hard game, but played in great spirit and the hosts were gracious in their defeat
On to the final.. Malta Marauders had won the other pool and as the 2016 runners up, were determined to go one better…. They were simply not in it… Playing the most sublime rugby, with backs and forwards combining like a well oiled old diesel engine ( because we are old…) the Dynamiters almost scored a try a minute to run out 9 tries to nil winners
A thoroughly enjoyable and well hosted tournament ended with Hammies winning a trophy plus a R20000 leg of “Ham”!! A quirk of fate?
The camaraderie between the lads was simply special! Every minute of the whole tour just built an amazing vibe and spirit, and , just when we thought we could not surpass prior tours, we did..
23 tries scored without reply:- 9 of those to Shaunie DJ who was man of the tournament… Sammy Suregrip went to Deon Adams for wearing the wrong kit for the 47th time on tours…
In the forwards, everyone pulled their collective weight:- Pfistie, Beks and captain and fellow tour organizer and fashion man Dixie all showed their super rugby credentials…. Big Dean Ferrari was like a child with new toys until a bout of knee- Monia created our only serious injury… Don Ross was his usual strong self, Pellet threw in beautifully and was busy, the future of Dynamiters:- Obie , Divvie and Paddy Holman were in a different League, though Obie needed a huge Czech handoff in his face to spice him up… Ricky Thomas and Moose took no prisoners.. Stu Gunners backed up his angelic voice with a devilishly hardworking performance…. The Frantic Warthog backed up his top class fines show with some great running lines and defense …. Monnas Lamont scored a bulldozing try and cleared rucks like a Goodwood street cleaner rushing to finish work…Griffie loved his cameos on the field in between his lagers…. Dennis and Snowy are simply ageless…legends both..
In the backs Basil the Herb was like a “seasoned” veteran at 9, not his normal position… Synders used his not so inconsiderable size advantage (and skill) to score two great tries in the final , SDJ hates scoring tries (and gave the writer one too!) newcomer Carlos the jackal was incredible in his pace and guile before a late groin injury halted his fantastic Dynamiters debut,, Mari the biscuit showed his best form on a Saturday for a while … Lolly Edwards is just class, Calf Roberts played probably his best tournament I have seen and scored some great tries… Another newcomer Voorties showed why he was so highly rated as a youngster at Hammies… The two aforementioned soccer rejects were in top form, with Brucie showing skill and strength, whilst Welchie showed some pace to score our last try of the day… The Oracle, aka raging bull Reags was so hard to stop, I think opposition players simply did not want to tackle him… Spotty was a flashy replacement scrummie – as busy as his mouth is in fines meetings…
Lastly and by no means the least:- no team can operate well without top class management, and here the Duke Berry and Falcon Adams were world class…
As the team made /makes their weary way home, one can only reminisce with pride how this Dynamiter bunch continues to make Hammies proud
Until the next tour….