Despite the touring dates being May 26th to May 29th in reality Tour started with a quote captured on video during the 2023 annual end of season dinner. A somewhat intoxicated Laurence Troke (Trokey) stated “If someone buys me [Virgin Auction] for £1000 I will get a tattoo of MVV”. MVV standing for Most Valuable Virgin. But we will revisit that later.
The organization of the tour was somewhat rocky! Leading the Tour was Ben Parkinson, soon to age significantly. Fortunately for him he was flanked by some excellent helpers. Matt Lacour was the brains behind the Tour tasked with sourcing accommodation and, more importantly, he prevented stupid ideas coming to fruition. Lewis Steadman was as influential as ever leading the social side of tour and done a stellar job assisting all planning whilst steering the men excellently once in Amsterdam. Nabil (Nabz) Imrit was sporadically vibrant but brought excellent management whilst leading Tour finances. Afi Ijaz was useless pre-tour but surprisingly helpful during the Tour. Pat Nash was also on the tour committee in charge of sorting transport, a task he left for Parkinson. Nash performed so badly he was given a re-show to be part of the 2024 committee.
Due to a late cancellation from the bus company set to transport us to Amsterdam, the 44 men set off for the unusual route to Amsterdam starting by flying from Stansted to Eindhoven on the 26th. The arrival time was totally disrespected by a strong number of the tour which inevitably led to a rush to catch the flight. Once landed there was a delay before catching the bus to Amsterdam. The wait saw the tourists create teams to bid on the upcoming Virgin Auction and Matt Donnelly attempting to put his lengthy arms to use and fish four tins of beer out of the automatic bin. The bin won. The bus arrived and Lewis took straight to the bus microphone to start the Virgin Auction. The journey from Eindhoven to Amsterdam was to take two hours, which didn’t provide a great deal of time to auction off the 18 tour virgins. The auction was an outstanding success. The Tourists did not hold back with the bidding and after 16 virgins in there was a surprise. Abusing their power in the committee Afi and Nabz demanded Matthew Speight be re-auctioned. So forced to sing a song he wrote and uploaded to YouTube called “The Pain” (to see the video enter “The Pain Matthew Speight” into YouTube).
Despite the hysterics caused from Speight’s fury at being re-auctioned there was significant tension building as the last Virgin to be auctioned was Trokey. Lewis aptly reminded the tourists of his tattoo claim. Trokey furthering his sale value by stating he “would show soft southerners how to drink on tour”. The old hats sensed their opportunity to challenge Trokey’s integrity and started the bidding furiously. But was £1000 out of reach? Absolutely not, some cunning planning and outright desire to make Troke eat his words the sale went for £1000! Bringing the total of the auction to £3460. The money usually would be pumped straight back into the tour as food and beer tokens, the majority was. However, there was £755 donated to Tom Fawcett’s fight against lymphoma. Tom was in the Ealing Trailfinders u15s team at the time he was diagnosed with cancer and all those on tour were keen to contribute to Tom’s valuable cause.
Arrival to the hostel. It was unsurprisingly chaotic trying to control the group after a rowdy journey. So, the easiest method of control was to let everyone loose and pray they all made the next timing at a Food Hall in the city. Surprisingly the majority made it. There was no jet lag from the early morning start and everyone went hard. Notable performances went to Eddie Beck and Ben Pink.
Saturday morning was a sorry sight. But with a bang average breakfast put on by the first group of virgins led by Kayci Bernard it was well appreciated by those who made it for some sustenance. The plan for the day was to travel to the national rugby stadium to play a rugby match with our hosts ASCRUM (Amsterdam Student Rugby Association). Match report HERE.
Surprisingly the Sunday breakfast was actually rather good. Unfortunately the majority of tourists were not able to stomach much after the previous evening’s festivities. The main event of Tour Court was on the horizon. Early afternoon was a free time to soak up the culture and enjoy the city. As predicted zero culture was absorbed outside of drinking Dutch beer in vast quantities. Armed in their 80’s disco themed outfits the Tourists descended on Coco’s Outback Australian bar which understood the drill and had sectioned off a private bar to keep us away from the public. As per tour rules the ongoing proceedings of the court will remain private. But the information we can share is of the grand crescendo. True to his word, the new pride and joy of Laurence Troke’s left bum cheek has a tattoo of “MVV”.
Overall it was a good tour made great by the enthusiasm of the tourists. It also saw a changing of the guard with the veterans passing on the mantle of organising tour to the younger generation. Roll on Galway 2024.
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