The Isle of Man Challenge

23 Nov 2015 in Heritage

Mick Coates took over the coaching reins in 1989 and in his first season took the side to a National Cup Final against Egremont that ended in an 11-8 defeat. 

Mick takes up the tale in the following season:

Next year we got to the final, but this time beat Hull Dockers 27-14 and the mould was well and truly broken. 

This qualified us for the one and only Manx Challenge. It has previously been the province of the pros, but this year the Manx Tourist Board went with the amateurs. Good call. 

Four days on tour, leave Friday, try to get back Monday. 

I made it clear to the lads that we were finely tuned athletes and this was the pinnacle of their rugby careers. 

Four days on the ale! 

Our opponents, Leigh East, had a 10pm curfew, stuck to it in military fashion and shook their heads at the states we got into. We’d earned the right to a blow out and we weren’t going to miss out. 

On the Sunday morning of the match most lads couldn’t tie their shoe laces, never mind tackle breakfast. No one gave us a prayer, but they’d reckoned without the winning mentality the lads had developed. 

You should have seen their faces when we beat them. Mind you, you should have seen our Tracy’s face when I unpacked on getting home and a blow up doll popped out of the suitcase. Who needs mates? 

Anyway, the win called for another celebration and it would have been rude not to!


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