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Fantastic Fundraising Fun

Fantastic Fundraising Fun

David Smith27 May - 10:26
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Dave Smith

On Saturday 25th May 2024, four lucky Sutton Vets graced the hallowed turf of rugby HQ Twickenham in support of the RFU's Injured Players' Foundation. The charity is especially close to the club's green heart as Ben Smoldon has been extensively supported by the organisation following his catastrophic spinal injury in 1997 when he was a 17 year old Colt.
The fifth member of the contingent, Warren Spiers, was sadly forced out with injury, only days before the event. The remaining four joined forces with eight other Midlands clubs to form a Barbarians side playing under the banner of Silnillians RFC. Their chairman, also a trustee of the IPF, Lee 'Window' Jones, had been a primary driver of the competition.
Dan Jones was first to get his opportunity, selected for the opening game against Wasps RFC, the forerunner of the former premiership champions. The Baba's imposed their supremacy, scoring two tries in quick succession in the fast paced 15 minute games. Dave Smith, Nathan Burchall and Doug Middleton came on throughout the game and the result was secured at 17-0.
In game 2 against the oldest rugby club in existence, Guy's Hospital, it was another impressive performance. The two highlights of the game were the appearance of the oldest player at the tournament, Terence Gibson, 81, who took his place at hooker and a phenomenal try by Sutton legend Burchall. Given the ball just outside his 22, a typical explosive and weaving run saw him cross the whitewash for his first try at Twickenham. The game ended 22-0 and the Babas progressed to the 1st and 2nd playoff later in the day.
A Super Vets game was the opener for the playoff matches, where more experienced players who happen to be over 50 were given an extra opportunity. Teddington RFC had so many 'experienced' players they were able to field an entire team and the other five teams at the tournament made up their opposition. Doug Middleton and Dave Smith got opportunities out of position but enjoyed the back row immensely. Neither crossed the line legally as a try was crossed out for Smith as the final pass was judged to have been forward. Again the Sutton contingent made its mark and they came out winners 17-0. This game was made all the more special as players were given the opportunity to sing the National Anthem before kick off.
As the final approached, the sun blazed down on the participants, all of whom had fund raised tirelessly over the previous weeks. With your help, the Sutton lads had collectively raised £5380, with Doug Middleton's proceeds being amongst the top 10 of the competition. He was rightly recognised for this outstanding effort in the presentation ceremony. Those taking part are thankful and proud of the support they have received from friends and family.
Evesham had qualified for the final as a result of their fixtures with Old Streetonians and Teddington. The teams took to the field with Dan Jones again selected in the starting 15. Two tries rewarded the powerful forward play and some artistry in the backs. At half time, Smith and Burchall entered the fray and got involved immediately. Powerful forward play led to an early second half try. Smith caught the resulting kick off and first phase ball was spread quickly to the right wing where Burchall exploded into life once again to score what can only be described as a 'special' try at the home of English rugby. Middleton joined the Sutton lads on the pitch for the remains of the game, the Babas winning the final 22-5.
Celebrations followed at the stadium and later in central Twickenham with groups of proud rugby players hailing each other in local hostelries and curry houses. With this success, we are sure to continue our involvement in years to come.

Photos of the day can be found on the page link below:

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