Land-ing a dream day out at Twickers
Club starlets enjoy trip to season’s showpiece finale
THE Aviva Premiership Rugby season may be over for another year.
However, memories of the 2018 final will live long in the memory for youngsters from Houghton RUFC and Percy Park RFC after they experienced a special day out at Twickenham.
Thanks to their involvement with the testimonial season of the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup, Houghton Under-11s and Percy Park Under-12s headed to rugby HQ, where they shared the turf with World Cup winners Lewis Moody and Jason Robinson.
That came after they secured their spot at the showpiece event at the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup festival hosted by Newcastle Falcons.
Their reward for their efforts also included the chance to watch Exeter Chiefs and Saracens battle it out for the title – as well as meeting with former England stars Moody and Robinson pre-match.
Houghton player Finnley QuinnThompson was additionally awarded the honour of being his team’s Most Valuable Player – and the 11-year-old admitted the whole day had been one to savour.
He said: “It has definitely been a highlight of my life to be at Twickenham.”
The Shiney Row Primary School pupil added: “I had never been before and it is a remarkable place – probably the most remarkable rugby stadium in the world.
“It was incredibly special to be here with my team as we worked so hard during the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup festival and we never expected to reach Twickenham.
“It means a lot to me to be the MVP as it shows other people value you as a really good player and it gives me encouragement to keep working hard.
“The whole experience has been one I will never forget.”
Houghton and Percy Park were two of 24 under-11 and under-12 teams in attendance for the final – representing two sides for each age category from the festivals hosted by each of the 12 Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs throughout the season.
This campaign represented a milestone season with this the tenth anniversary of the national grassroots rugby initiative.
Over the course of the last decade, more than 82,000 youngsters have participated in the tournament with Moody, who is a Land Rover ambassador alongside Robinson, praising the opportunities afforded to the rugby players at such a young age.
He said: “It is a unique chance to walk and be on the hallowed turf of Twickenham so for these youngsters it is a great opportunity as it is such an impressive environment.
“They have come through such a great journey and Land Rover have been embedded in grassroots rugby and Premiership Rugby at so many different levels of the game.
“It is awesome you can bring kids through and see them enjoy an experience I have also enjoyed.
“It is one of those experiences which only comes around once in your life.
“Hopefully some of them will be inspired enough through this to further their rugby careers to whatever level that may be.
“Some might even get to play at Twickenham at a senior level or junior level and I hope that happens for them.
“It is a unique day created by the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup, it is really special occasion.”
Percy Park Under-12s headed to the Premiership Play-Off Final where they shared the Twickenham turf with World Cup winner Lewis Moody (back centre). Picture: FLICK.DIGITAL
Land Rover Premiership Cup ambassador Jason Robinson with Houghton RFC’s Finnley Quinn-Thompson – named Most Valued Player at the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Final. Picture: FLICK.DIGITAL