Newbury's under 12s gave it a go
YOUNGSTERS from Newbury RFC played a part in creating history as they participated in the weekend’s Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup, hosted by London Irish at Henley.
More than 70,000 children have taken part in the event over its 10 years, and this season's regional ‘Testimonial Season’ event was hosted by London Irish at Henley RFC on Sunday.
Newbury under-12s were one of more than 30 Under-11 and Under-12 teams in attendance, and even got the chance to strut their stuff in front of a host of London Irish players, including academy star Tom Parton.
And while they missed out on the chance to attend next May’s Aviva Premiership Rugby Final, despite their displaying plenty of skill and effort, 11-year-old Ollie Absolom insisted he had loved every minute of the experience.
“As a team, we had been looking forward to this tournament for quite a long time,” said the Brockhurst School pupil.
“We felt really confident we could do well. We won all our matches to reach the play-offs.
“We’ve got a couple of big guys in our squad which I think plays to our advantage, because we can run through everyone’s defence.
“It would have been amazing to get to go on the pitch at Twickenham.”
Teams from across the county will compete at various festivals hosted by the 12 Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs this season, with the opportunity to earn a trip to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final on May 26, where they will meet a Land Rover rugby ambassador, join in a Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup Parade at half-time and hear which of them has won a club MVP award.
Newbury did at least get the chance to rub shoulders with rugby’s elite, and Parton admitted he had been impressed with what he had seen, in particular stressing the importance of grassroots rugby.
“I’ve massively enjoyed watching the rugby,” he said.
“There has been so much talent on show and it’s good to see everyone having so much fun.
“There is such a good atmosphere and it was a great event all round.
“It’s so important to support grassroots rugby, we all started at this level and this is where you learn your trade.
“It’s where you get the experience and then you build up. It’s important to show your talent as well as make new friends, and that’s what rugby is all about.”
Land Rover is celebrating its ‘Testimonial Season’; ten years of the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup. The national series of grassroots rugby festivals is testament to Land Rover’s contnued support of grassroots rugby through its ‘We Deal In Real’ campaign. Follow @LandRoverRugby #WeDealInReal