On arriving in Blois the team toured the magnificent Chateau Royal de Blois and the Maison de Magie of Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin the world famous 19th century prestidigitator and illusionist. They were later greeted at a reception held at the Mairie hosted by The Deputy Mayor for Sport M. Joel PATIN and Blois Twinning President Mme. Maryse Fontaine (no relation to Thierry) at which gifts and speeches, Pete Bull the Lewes Manager did particularly well, were exchanged and a splendid buffet shared.
Saturday saw a fine day with a visit to the locally much celebrated Marche de Blois, a proper French Market with a huge number and variety of stalls from the region. The tournament in the afternoon began with a very closely fought match ending with a 1-0 win for BUS over Lewes. Pete rallied his team and they won their next two games 1-0 and 3-0 against Ville de Blois and Portuguese Sports Club respectively. The final saw a very competitive match between Lewes and BUS, who had Wayne Woollard playing for them. Wayne is a true veteran of the Bridge View/BUS tournaments having played in at least 15 tournaments over the years as a young lad and now well into his 40s, haha, sorry Wayne!! The match ended in a 1-0 victory for BUS and was followed by the presentation of trophies by Mm. Isabelle Laumond-Valroff, another Deputy Mayor, at The Portuguese Club House. Lewes Veterans were presented with a Runner-up Trophy, Best Foreign Team Trophy and an Historical Cup to be awarded at the next tournament to be arranged in Lewes in 2020 and all subsequent tournaments. The Player of the Tournament was presented to Wayne having topped his performance by scoring the winner in the final. M. Bernard Jousselin was the official photographer.
After the rigours of the Tournament and hostelries of Blois, Sunday dawned a bright sunny day and accompanied by Thierry and his brother Alain we all set off for a trip down the Loire valley to visit Plou & fils, a magnificent Vineyard that has been run in the same family since 1508. The tour was conducted by a son who is the one of the 24th generation. Having politely sampled their huge range of whites, reds, roses and sparkling wines , enthusiastically purchasing various bottles and cases, we set of to Amboise to look round the ancient streets, Chateau, Leonardo Da Vinci museum and the occasional restaurant. Returning to Blois everyone gathered for a celebratory meal to embrace the great success of the weekend and to toast Thierry, Alain and Blois for their wonderful hospitality.
Monday was an early start to return to Lewes, a bit too early for a farewell reception from Blois, but they had already shown what real hospitality is.
Looking forward to next year at the Dripping Pan, Lewes.