This inaugural event took place at Northern FC on Sunday, 25th August and proved to be a huge success with the sunshine being the icing on the cake! The event evolved as part of the legacy programme for the England v Italy game at St James Park, Newcastle on the 6th September 2019, with the aim of encouraging ex-players to pull on their boots and take to the field again or perhaps just re-connect with their clubs and help out in a volunteer capacity.
Graham Crozier was tasked with organising this important initiative and everyone at Northumberland Rugby is very grateful to Graham for his diligence and hardwork making it happen, so thank you.
We caught up with Graham about the day and here's what he had to say ....
"With 3 participating teams from Percy Park, Gosforth and Northern, a total of 38 players turned up to play, which is fantastic as 21 of those hadn’t played since they were 18, which was the whole point of the day. They assembled in the car park and a lot of handshaking and hugs went on as players and coaches arrived. Percy Park were first to arrive and it was fantastic to hear the players speaking to one another and reminiscing, together with the coaches and some parents re-uniting too after all these years. Percy Park Coach, Stu Robertson, said “I’ve only been here 15 minutes and the boys are all here and together again, if I go home now I`ll be a happy man”.
Graham went on to say "as to the rugby; teams were assembled and the players were asked what they wanted to do and it was decided we play full on with competitive scrums and play 3 x 20 minutes sessions, as it was so hot!! Some great rugby, sportsmanship, enjoyment and fun was had by all, which was the main focus of the day."
"Post-match we had a BBQ and a few beers which was a perfect end to a fabulous day with teammates and ex-competitors catching up with each other about what they were all doing in the `grown up world`."
"I'd like to say a huge thank you to the referees involved: Fraser, Tom and Paul. They showed great expertise in keeping the games flowing so all were happy and the matches were enjoyable and played in the spirit of the event. Also a big thank you to Northern FC for hosting and help!"
"Talking to everyone, they thoroughly enjoyed the day and we've had a number of players who have said they would like to get back to training and playing again."
Going forward, I’d like to build on this success and possibly run another event around Christmas time - so watch this space ...."