If at first you DO succeed – try, try, try again.
That is the mission of the team behind the second annual XV Veterans “Get Your Boots On” charity rugby match at Terrington Hall School who now have a vision to extend the fundraiser around the country.
Organised by Marcus Aldrich, Selwyn Jones and Nick Townend, with the full support of Terrington Hall headmaster Jon Glen, the good-natured yet competitive match between the Codgers and the Relics was played against the backdrop of the Howardian Hills last week.
It raised more than £7,000 for Yorkshire Cancer Research, MS-UK and RFU Injured Players Foundation charities.
The afternoon began with head teacher Jon Glen, passing down the line-ups to greet mascots Silas Gunn and Joe Combe, the Codgers, captained by Jon Richards, and the Relics, led by David McDowell.
Thirty seconds’ applause was held in memory of Nigel “Bruiser” Williams, a stalwart of Malton & Norton Rugby Club who played in the inaugural match but died later in the year. The tribute was followed by the National Anthem.
The battle, between teams of over-40s veterans with varying degrees of rugby experience, was played in front of enthusiastic spectators who turned out in force to watch their husbands, fathers, uncles and friends stretching every sinew to make tackles and score tries.
For 60 minutes the two sides slugged it out – no quarter was given, and certainly no deference shown, to either age or inexperience. It was a competitive match, fought out with bruising encounters and flashes of brilliance on both sides.
When the final whistle blew, the Codgers emerged with a 32-21 victory.
“It was a glorious afternoon’s rugby,” said Jon Glen. “The camaraderie and spirit of the rugby-playing community is like none other, especially when united behind a cause.”
Local businesses put their weight behind the event with The Star Inn, Harome providing a hog roast and the Grapes Inn, Slingsby installing its organ bar in the marquee.
Generous support came from main sponsor BMW Coopers of Malton, alongside Rodgers of York, Pearsons & Ward, Malton Foods, Rohan Woodworking and Florida Marquees.
Following the success of last year’s inaugural event, organisers developed a vision for the future where – on a fixed annual weekend – preparatory schools around the country unite to host their own “Get Your Boots On” rugby matches under the auspices of the XV Veterans charitable organisation set up to run such events.
This year saw Casterton, Sedbergh Preparatory School hold their own XV Veterans rugby match in aid of MS-UK and the RFU Injured Players Foundation on the same weekend.
Marcus Aldrich, founder of the XV Veterans charitable organisation, said: “The atmosphere at the Sedbergh game was electric and it continued throughout the evening’s post-match bar and hogroast.
As a supporter of XV Veterans, Sedbergh old boy and England and Gloucester player James Simpson-Daniel was on hand to award the Terrington Hall XV Veterans Man of the Match trophy to his old coach Dan Harrison
“Sedbergh is very enthusiastic to join Terrington Hall and ourselves in creating a national network of participating XV Veterans teams playing rugby matches annually at prep schools nationally, and generating funds for a wide range of charitable causes in the process. It’s a vision that’s well on the way to being realised and that’s incredibly exciting.
He added: “I have to say that the stand-out person in this whole venture has been Jon Glen. He threw his arms out wide to the project from the start, continues to support us and was instrumental in bringing Sedbergh on board.”