Simon Says Vets Keep Playing in Northumberland

Northumberland Vets Rugby Inter Squad Photo at Morpeth RFC

Share This Post

The Northumberland ‘Friday Night Lights’ Vets Programme has recently been featured on the England Rugby website within their ‘community’ section. Read the full story below. 

Vets’ rugby is flourishing in Northumberland thanks to clubs working together and focusing on the social side of the game.

Simon Cox, who organises the Northumberland ‘Friday Night Lights’ Vets Programme, works with five core clubs: Blyth, Ashington, Whitley Bay Rockliff, Novocastrians and Morpeth, planning matches well in advance for the third Friday every other month. Other club vets’ teams dip in and out, enjoying the opportunities to play in teams of 40+ and 50+ ages, with a few in their 60s.  They also welcome guest teams from across the UK to take part in their end of season ‘NRU VetFest Tournament’.

The five core clubs take it in turns to host matches, Morpeth featuring to coincide with their annual beer festival at late April/Early May Bank Holiday weekend. Whitley Bay Rockliff often hosts in the depths of stormy winter thanks to their RFU artificial grass pitch. And rotating host clubs gives a chance to maximise revenue with bespoke events as part of each individual festival.

If a team lacks numbers, or if individual players want a game, they are guaranteed a chance to play. All players are willing to plug positional gaps for any other team, and the vets series has removed barriers by stopping the frustrations of cancellations and ensuring matches happen.

Each event draws between 70-90 players and is officiated by members of Northumberland Referees Society with a flexible format and everyone happy that changes may be made for the good of the game.

Simon uses Facebook, WhatsApp and email groups to communicate, and his hard work has seen more people playing rugby, increased revenue for clubs from the festivals, certainty that matches will happen and a number of Return to Rugby players, club youth coaches and managers getting involved.

For more stories like this, sign up to the monthly England Rugby newsletter Touchline.

Northumberland Vets Rugby

Latest Articles

Wallsend RFC
Club Rugby

Adult Player Registration Season 2024-25

From next season, all players, in all formats of the game will be required to register themselves to play rugby annually within RFU member clubs.

Quick Links

Northumberland Rugby Partners