SCRFC & Spartans Take to Twickenham Turf

Last Updated: Apr 10, 2014 08:57pm
Sutton New Hall, Birmingham
By James Haywood
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Two players from the towns top two clubs took to the field at Twickenham on Tuesday April 8th.

Despite the clubs being the hardest of competitors on the field off the pitch they are becoming ever closer friends in ruby. This Tuesday saw a pair of players take to the pitch at the home of English Rugby, Twickenham Stadium.

Jonathan (JP) Pritchard of Spartans and Hannah Haywood of Sutton Coldfield RFC both qualified as level 2 coaches this year and were sponsored by QBE in their 2015 coaches by 2015 campaign. As part of the reward for the efforts they both put I there was an opportunity to play touch in the QBE 2014 tournament. It turned out the two rugby players from the Sutton Coldfield clubs were also on the same team!

Sutton Coldfield and Spartans RFC are only a couple of miles apart and have had links for as many years as they have been neighbours. There has always been a strong rivalry between the local clubs as you would imagine and contests have always been fierce regardless of the position of either XV playing. They are though great friends in the bar, share a bond between players and in events like this come together well in the priced they show for their community.

“It gave us a great photo op”, said Jim Haywood, Chairman of Sutton Coldfield and proud Dad of Hannah. “Seeing the two teams’ socks side by side on the hallowed green of Twickenham was a real once in a life time thing and one which just had to be recorded”.

The day started at 12 noon with a chat session with the England coaches Mike Catt and Graham Roundtree followed by the pool stages of the Touch Rugby, a none contact, mixed sex form of the game which is really taking off around the country. In the early stages the team including the two North Warwickshire players gelled well and despite being brought together on that day, both players contributed to the game and saw their team progress to the quarter finals after lunch.

JP commented, “To think we all came together and have lost just one game in the pool is great. Just running out on the pitch is a great event. Getting to the knock out stage and having lost once to a side who play together every week is a real achievement.”

The day didn’t stop there though. The duo went on to knock out their quarter final opponents and head into a nail biting semi final which at full time saw both teams level. “It gets really exciting in touch when it’s a draw”’ said Hannah. “ You drop a player each minute until someone scores. The extra space means you can take a chance, but if it goes wrong the other team can pounce. Real edge of the seat stuff”. The teams dropped down to three each side from the starting 7 until the deadlock was broken and the Sutton Coldfield two progressed to the final.

The reward was a game against the only team to have beaten them all day. After a brief rest the final started and a frantic 10 minutes of top quality touch which both players played  leading roles in finally ended in defeat by just one score. So a runners up place for the two coaches in their first trip to play at Twickenham. Both agreeing it was a chance of a life time and one they would have taken anyway. To be finalists and walk up the steps to the Royal box to collect their medals just added a real gloss to the day, even if Her Majesty was double booked for the day. A real win for the towns rugby heritage as we approach the Rugby World Cup in 2015.



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