DRINK IT IN: MONMOUTH v. MONMOUTH
Brian Difiore’s feeling a little trampled today.
The coach of the Red Bank-based Monmouth Rugby Football Club was out until the wee hours this morning showing the visiting Monmouth Rugby Football Club around town.
Yeah, it’s like that this week, and not only because of the alcoholic haze.
To clarify: the 73-man squad from Monmouthshire, Wales, is in town to play the local team with which it shares a name.
And how often does that happen? Like, never. So this is a big deal for both teams who thus far have shared a kinship based as much in confusion as anything else. Difiore says he sometimes gets emails from parents asking for directions to a practice pitch about 3,000 miles east of Red Bank.
The occasion for the Welshmen’s visit is this Saturday’s Monmouth Day of ruggers at Thompson Park in Lincroft. The men’s game will be preceded by a match between the women of Monmouth Renegade Rugby and the Brooklyn Rugby Club.
Afterward, an invitation-only dinner party will be held at the Red Bank team’s newly renovated Shrewsbury Avenue clubhouse, where Mayor Pasquale Menna will exchange complementary resolutions with a rugby-playing elected official or two from Wales.
Between now and then, expect to see bands of battered men, some in blue-and-gold jerseys and all with lovely accents roving the streets of Red Bank and taking advantage of sterling exchange rates (about $2.30 per British pound).
“They’re effectively paying half price for everything here,” says Difiore.
That might help explain their thirst for American culture. The Welshmen arrived at about 6:30 last night at the Oyster Point Hotel, Difiore says, “and they drank the hotel bar dry by about 9:30,” whereupon “they started making their way to us.”
When the club’s six kegs were drained after midnight, the visitors and their hosts scattered downtown, some heading to the Dublin House, some to the Walt Street Pub and others, inexplicably, to the booze-free Broadway Diner.
While they’re here, don’t be too surprised to hear a throaty song or two. The visitors have their own “New Jersey tour song sheet.” Americans should have no trouble singing along to familiar tunes such “Sloop John B” and (no kidding) “The Bells Are Ringing.” But for those a little flummoxed by the accents, here’s the song sheet itself: Download mrfc_usa_2008_song_sheet.pdf
And here’s the sked for Saturday; the games are free admission.
Women’s game: Monmouth Renegades v. Brooklyn, 10a.
Old Boys’ game (over 40): 11a.
Monmouth v. Monmouth (starting sides): 1p.
Monmouth v. Monmouth (second sides): @ 2p
Beer bash follows at the Wilde Rover, 173 Shrewsbury Avenue. Invite-only dinner at 6p.
The Welshmen are scheduled to return home on Sunday.