Youngsters from Camelot RFC played a part in creating history after they participated in the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup, hosted by Saracens, at the weekend.
Since being launched in 2008/09, the nationwide grassroots rugby event has seen more than 70,000 children take part.
This season saw the tenth anniversary edition of the event – the ‘Testimonial Season’ – with Saracens hosting the first festival in the shadow of Allianz Park on Saturday.
Camelot’s under-12s were one of more than 30 under-11 and under-12 teams in attendance, and they got the chance to strut their stuff in front of Saracens players Nick Tompkins and Titi Lamositele, who were casting their eyes over the next generation of stars.
Although the Hemel side missed out on the chance to attend next May’s Aviva Premiership rugby final, despite displaying plenty of skill and effort, 11-year-old Camelot player Gareth Gartside said he loved every minute of the experience.
Gareth, an Ashlyns School pupil, said: “It’s quite incredible being so close to the Saracens ground, even playing near it is amazing.
“Camelot have made it to the final once before, so we were hoping to do that again.
“But we just love the game, it’s amazing, it’s so difficult and fast – it’s just better than everything else.”
Teams from across the county will be competing at various festivals hosted by the 12 Premiership rugby clubs this season, with the winners getting an opportunity to earn a trip to the Premiership final on May 26.
Worthing Mini Raiders won the event on Saturday.
Sarries’ centre Tompkins said he was impressed with what he saw and stressed the importance of grassroots rugby.
“It’s amazing for these kids, because they get to play teams that they wouldn’t normally play,” Tompkins said. “They get to come from all over the region and have a good time and play a good level of rugby.
“I was just watching and some of the players are really good, it’s awesome – it’s such a good tournament.
Sponsor Land Rover is celebrating the cup’s ‘Testimonial Season’ – ten years of supporting the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup.