BLOG: Enisei-STM Russia trip creates some pot-smashing memories
Our Worcester Warriors’ Challenge Cup trip to play Enisei-STM in Russia created a record that I doubt few games will be able to beat, writes Sam Vesty
Our ‘hosts’ had to travel further than we did to play a fixture that took place in Moscow!
While our flight from Heathrow took four hours, the Enisei squad had to fly six-and-a-half hours from their home town in the Siberian region of Krasnoyarsk. The organisers deemed the game should take place in Moscow.
We were gone for four days in total. The trip created memories for those of us in the tour party that few will forget.
That was especially the case for the five lads who made their first team debuts in the game.
A Russian man took fingerprints
I doubt they could have envisaged making them in Moscow when they joined the club.
The preparation for the game began weeks beforehand with a visit from a Russian man at Sixways. He took fingerprints and photos for the visas we needed to apply for to enter Russia.
While there might have been a bit of laughing and joking then, there was none of that when we were checking into our hotel in Moscow and the receptionists were checking all of our documents in the lobby. The lads were quiet, almost a bit nervous as we all stood there.
Suddenly, the silence was broken as one of the boys – who shall remain nameless – swung his bag around and knocked a massive pot off a stand and onto the floor, smashing it into pieces and making a huge crash.
We recovered from that and took a nine-lane highway to the ground on Saturday. There was no lane etiquette to be seen and cars honking horns with regularity on the way.
When had warned the boys before we arrived not to expect some of the facilities we get at home. And that was just the case as we rocked up at the Slava Stadium on the outskirts of the city. It was wet, soggy and muddy with little grass and the changing rooms were down in a little cellar! Not what us precious professionals are used to!
Enisei battered us early on
The Enisei lads were just as we had imagined. Very big, strong and hard men who were really up for the fixture. They battered us in the opening 10 minutes too and we found ourselves 10-0 down.
The rest of the game was a real slog and we adapted well with a side full of young lads who stuck to their task manfully. We got back into it but, in a slog, their power eventually told and they held on for a 19-12 win they were worthy of.
We came home deflated but with some lessons in the bag and some memories that none of us will forget.
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See the official Worcester Warriors’ ‘Diary from Russia’.