The U11s took on the role of proud flagbearers as their rugby heroes from table-topping Exeter Chiefs ran onto the field before kick-off.
The 23 team members were invited by Gallagher to take part in the special match-day celebrations known as a ‘Gallagher Game Day’. Sunday’s celebrations were just one of 12 events that Gallagher is hosting throughout the 2018/19 season, forming part its investment in bolstering stronger relationships within the community, including grass roots rugby clubs.
The U11s special match-day experience came just three days after Crediton Ladies U15s enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime skills sharpening session led by three of the Chiefs — captain Jack Yeandle, Harry Williams and Alec Hepburn — and the club’s community coaches. The session was the U15s prize for being the local winner of Gallagher’s nationwide ‘Train with your Heroes’ competition in recognition of growing its first girls’ team into multiple squads over a few short years with more than 100 girls and women now regularly playing competitive rugby.
Crediton RFC is a registered amateur sporting club that is dedicated to providing sport for all those who wish to participate. They have nine junior sides, colts and three senior teams, in addition to three girl’s teams and a senior ladies team. Scott Baker, a junior coach of 20 years at Crediton RFC, is a passionate advocate for the sport. As a full-time teacher at Haywards Primary School, Scott takes on extra roles including organising his school’s tag rugby teams, coaching 50 children each year, standing as a grassroots referee for 20 years, and being a founding member and Chairman of charity team, Ide Rugby Club.
In addition to the players from Crediton RFC, a further eight children were invited from friends and families of Gallagher colleagues and clients and were given the exciting opportunity to become mascots for the match, enjoying a special experience as they ran onto the pitch with their rugby heroes. They also had the chance to take part in a special play-on-the-pitch training session led by community coaches from Gallagher Premiership Rugby.
Scott Baker, Head Coach for the Under 11s at Credition RFC said: “We’d like to say a big thank you to Gallagher for giving our U11s team this fantastic and
memorable opportunity. Our club strives to educate youth players on the importance of trust, teamwork and respect, but to also position the game of rugby as an inclusive, welcoming and exciting sport for all to enjoy. So for our team to have been given the chance to join their favourite players at the iconic Sandy Park is an experience they’ll never forget.”
Ross Browne, Gallagher Branch Director in Exeter, said: “The Gallagher Game Day was such a brilliant experience for all those involved. But it was made extra special by seeing the delight on the faces of the young players at Crediton RFC as they took to the pitch with the professional players that so inspired them.
“We’re proud to be the title partner of the Premiership Rugby and the ability this gives us to demonstrate our commitment to the local communities in which we serve. We hope that by giving Crediton’s young players an up-close insight into what hard work and determination can lead to, it will fire their own rugby-playing ambitions and potentially help create the next generation of rugby pros.”