TWENTY hours on a coach is hardly the best way to prepare for 80 minutes of rugby, but that’s how High Wycombe RUFC coach Luke Harding warmed up for their Southern Counties North game with Aylesbury at the weekend.

The teacher from Gillmotts in Henley had been on a school skiing trip in Italy during half-term.

Instead of flying, they bussed the 1,000-plus miles across the continent and only left their resort for the return journey in the afternoon before the game.

Harding said: “We left Italy on Friday about 4pm and travelled through the night by coach.

“Then we took the ferry and eventually got back to Henley about 11.30am.

“Luckily my flat is right next to the school, so I popped in to get my boots then came down to meet the lads.

“I’m glad I played because it was a very good game, but I was very tired and tried to get myself taken off in the last five minutes because I felt my performance was dropping.

“But we had no subs so I had to man up.”

Harding’s commitment is symbolic of the change in attitude at Wycombe.

Ever since withdrawing from a cup semi-final in the autumn because they couldn’t raise a team, the club has been on the mend.

Saturday was a 19-14 defeat to Aylesbury, but compared to a 36-5 defeat against the same opponents earlier in the season it continued a strong second half to the season for Wycombe.

Harding said: “We were unlucky not to win, but they beat us by 30 points last time and this time there was only four points in it.

“It shows how much we’ve come on. The boys are making tackles for each other now and as coaches, that’s really pleasing to see.

“It was just a few lapses in concentration that cost us that winning try at the end.”

Wycombe host Drifters next weekend.