This April, Cobham Rugby Club veterans’ team (aka the AllStars) will be departing on a five-day tour to the Caribbean island of Jamaica. The tourists consist of members from all the senior teams, although the majority are over the 35-age bracket (the average age is 42).
The tour is being led by Ian Snead, who is originally from the island. He said: “Not in my wildest dreams did I ever think Cobham players would be traveling to Jamaica. I want us to leave a long-lasting impact.”
The team have been fundraising to buy rugby balls and boots to take to high schools on the island. One of the schools is Aabuthnott Gallimore High, located in the rural hills about 90 minutes inland from the north coast city of Montego Bay. The rugby set-up there is promising, with over 40 players across both boys and girls from ages 12 to 16.
Despite the lack of balls and boots, this school is enthusiastic about the game and travels all over the island to play against other schools. Snead says: “They only have two balls, so we can't wait to see the smiles on their faces when we deliver our rugby cargo of boots and balls, and also looking forward to a joint training session with them as well.”
While football and cricket are the dominant sports on the island, rugby is experiencing strong growth at grassroots level. Jerry Bezwick, Chairman of the Jamaica Rugby Football Union says: “We are delighted to welcome the Cobham team from England and appreciate them taking the time to visit and inspire grassroots rugby in Jamaica.”
The main fixture of the tour, being billed as an International Vets match, is between the Cobham AllStars and the Old Jamaican Crocs. It will take place in Kingston on 21 April. There is also an international touch tournament the following day that Cobham will also enter.
The Club and players would like to thank all the sponsors, associated partners and Virgin Airlines for helping make this all possible, in addition to all the donations to our JustGiving page that will be used to pay for balls, boots and tackle pads being taken to Jamaica.