Bury Saints were treated to a glimpse into a bright future for the club following a truly memorable and invaluable trip to Rotterdam.
Beside the banks of the River Rotte, amid the floodlights, smoke, and swirling music, Bury St Edmunds’ first American football team were treated to a true game day experience by their dutch hosts Rotterdam 010 Trojans, as the newly-formed partners celebrated the 30th anniversary of the sport in the striking maritime city.
And following a difficult 18 months in which head coach Chris Wallis saw his attempts to firstly create a club fold before a successful second launch in March 2013, he is now determined to build on their experiences in Netherlands’ second biggest city and continue to develop the burgeoning Saints in the years to come.
“We are determined to keep developing the club as a whole and we have seen a lot from Rotterdam to understand how we can do that,” he said, following the club’s first venture abroad. “They tried really hard to put on a decent event with floodlights and music and the occasion itself was really good to see and be part of.
“It is a great end to the season for the club and it sets us up brilliantly to go on and progress and build the club.
“We have some long-term plans in place, we have to focus on building now, but we are also looking ahead and looking at what we have experienced here is what we want to build to.
“That is what we are looking to do and I certainly feel we will only grow as a club in the years to come.”
On the field, the encounter itself was marred by a serious injury to Manny Durran as the Saints slumped to an eventual 19-6 defeat having led 6-0 at the halfway point.
But while Wallis was disappointed not to return home with a victory to cap off an otherwise promising domestic season, he knows the lessons learnt and challenges experienced will stand the club in good stead as they continue to try and establish themselves.
“Overall we came here to learn some important lessons both on and off the field and we certainly did that,” he added. “It is a huge step for us to come away to somewhere like this and we have certainly learnt a lot.
“This trip was certainly worthwhile and we can only learn from this.
“The game itself we battled hard and played physical football for three quarters and were in the game but ultimately travelling that distance and playing on the same day just proved too much.
“It is disappointing how we let the game slip, but I’m incredibly proud of how the guys battled in the circumstances.
“That is a big lessons for our side who have never experienced that before and it will stand us in good stead for the future as we attempt to try and progress through the leagues and into a higher standard of football.
“A trip like will also help immensely with squad unity, it was a great bonding experience and what they have learnt about one another is brilliant.
“We have a good squad together and there are a lot of young players coming through, the future is certainly looking bright.”