At 6am on Friday 19th May, 17 Quins gathered at Luton airport (tell us again why it was Luton, Sean) for our end of season tour to Budapest.
The focus of the weekend was of course the rugby and on Saturday we played three half-games: our hosts Budapest Exiles, Societé Generale's works team and Crawley.
On a blisteringly hot day, we arrived an hour before our first match to be told we were kicking off against the French in 30 minutes. As Quins rushed to change into playing kit, our continental cousins showed their different understanding of touring rugby by going for a light warm up.
As the game kicked off, it was obvious that the bankers more closely resembled a 7s team than Quins' "game for all sizes" physiques. They had apparently also forgotten to bring props (or sleeves for their shirts) so insisted on uncontested scrums.
With our main chance of possession blunted, Quins struggled and weren't helped by the local ref's somewhat alternative interpretation of the tackle laws. As frustration mounting, the game threatened to boil over until one of the Crawley boys took the whistle for the final 10 minutes and a game of rugby was allowed to break out.
Well beaten, Quins retired to the sidelines to lick their wounds and prepare to face the locals. However it seemed we were straight back on so after a 5 minute "break" we were back on the paddock. Our opponents of course had just had half an hour off. Home advantage I guess!
The game against Budapest was much closer with some lovely play by Quins. The highlight of the game however was undoubtedly a near-length of the field run by Dennis Stewart.
Unfortunately, Dennis isn't as young as he used to be and the full 80 yards proved to be too much. From the resulting scrum in the Budapest 22 however, the ball was again spun to that man Stewart and he was transported over the line by the love of his teammates - sealing the try with a flamboyant swan dive.
Having borrowed a couple of Crawley players for our games, Quins felt it only fair to return the favour as their older players succumbed to dehydration (it was a very warm day....). Taking on French, Si Rowland and Sean combined with the Crawley fly-half to produce a sumptuous double switch which put Si through a huge hole. If the All Blacks ever pull off a move half as naughty, it will win awards.
With both English sides now keen to enjoy the delights of Budapest, our game was played in the classic touring style. The boat race was nip and tuck but a strong anchor leg from the tour baby saw Quins home by half a pint.
Many thanks to the guys at Budapest Exiles for hosting and to the boys from Crawley for being a great bunch of lads. Lastly, a big hand to Sean for arranging our first tour in 6 years.
Now get sorting next year's.....
Updated 16:31 - 23 May 2017 by David Love