Oakham Rugby Club hosted an exciting under-12 grassroots developmental festival at the weekend as the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup celebrated its 10th successful season.
More than 1,000 players, parents and fans gathered to celebrate a fantastic day of rugby, with teams coming from as far away as Southwold in Suffolk and North Walsham in Norfolk.
It was a fabulous competition to watch with local team Kesteven under-12s emerging victorious over 15 other top clubs from Warwickshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Norfolk and Lincolnshire.
Ks earned hard fought victories against Lichfield, Market Rasen and Lutterworth in the initial group stage, before the four winners of each group progressed to play one another in the finals. The first match was a victory against local rivals Stamford, with Ks taking the confidence from this match to beat Market Harborough and Ashby in the remaining two encounters.
Ks showed great spirit right up until the final whistle to earn a trip to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final on May 26 2018, where they will represent Leicester Tigers and join in a Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup Parade at half time on the Twickenham turf.
Kesteven U12 captain was excited to be there on the day: “This tournament is good because we played against loads of teams from around the country, teams that we’ve never played before. I support Leicester Tigers so it was great to see lots of Tigers coaches and have our team photo with Manu Tuilagi.”
Participating players at the festival had the opportunity to meet Tigers legend Tuilagi who took time to chat with the boys and offer some coaching tips between games.
This was the second time Kesteven had competed at the event. The disappointment of last year, when they lost their final match, was replaced with the delight of winning this year.
Kesteven U12 coach Marcus Lee was hugely impressed with the quality of the rugby. He said: “We were incredibly competitive, conceding only two tries to the 18 scored. Ks’ defence was absolutely superb, the team spirit was brilliant, a very enjoyable day.”
Kesteven U12 squad comprised Toby Watchorn, Archie Tagg, Dominic Birch, Monty Weaver, Ben Taylor, Benedict Vince, Sam Morgan, Rory Humphries, Josh Brahoua, Oscar Hardy-Gillings , Ed Lee, Theo Milner, Keiran Brumhead, Alex Dickinson, Jack Hall and Charlie Stephenson.
l Kesteven Mini Rugby play on Sunday mornings at Woodnook from 10am, with age groups from U6 to U12.