Land-ing a dream day out at Twick­ers

Club star­lets en­joy trip to sea­son’s show­piece fi­nale

The Chronicle - - Grassroots Sport -

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

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