VETERANS and amateurs alike took to the hallowed turf of Rugby School for a series of rugby matches, as part of the school’s celebrations of the sport’s bicentenary.
Among the matches was a game between the Rugby and District Veterans and the Commons and Lords Rugby Union Football Team.
The Veterans team comprised players from the Old Laurentians, Rugby St Andrews RFC, Newbold-on-Avon RFC, AEI Rugby, Rugby Welsh and Rugby Lions, who put aside their old rivalries to take on the Parliamentarians.
They played a version of ‘golden oldies’ rules, which is the format used by the Commons and Lords team when playing against other parliaments.
The game was one of three which took place as part of ‘A Day of Rugby on The Close’.
Teams from Rugby Lions, Rugby Club Dignois, England Deaf and The Lambs played to celebrate the game’s 200th anniversary and raise money for the work of the Atlas Foundation and the 1823 Bursary, which both work with children and young people.
The Atlas Foundation, started by ex-England international Jason Leonard, is led by the core rugby values of Integrity, Hard Work and Respect, getting practical help directly to those who need it. So far over £1million has been raised, and over 50,000 children have been helped by the Foundation.
Participating alongside Rugby MP Mark Pawsey in the Commons team were Lord Dominic Addington, Ben Everitt MP, and Sam Tarry MP, and former MP Andy Reed. Mr Pawsey was also joined by his sons Will and Tom. The game finished with a 41-14 win for the local veterans.
Mr Pawsey said: “It was a great day of celebrating the sport and the historic connection to my constituency, with hundreds of local residents coming along to support players and raise some money for two very worthy causes.
“I think that we can all agree that the real winners today were everyone who enjoys the game, and the young people who will be supported by the Atlas Foundation and the 1823 Bursary.
“It was a really great day and a brilliant opportunity to see some great rugby played by both the next generation and some of us ‘golden oldies’. I’m really grateful to Rugby School and all those involved in making this event happen.”