VETERAN rugby players are being urged to get their boots on again as a charity match in North Yorkshire becomes an annual event – with organisers hoping it will go on to become a national phenomenon.
Last year’s inaugural Get Your Boots On match at Terrington Hall School, near Malton, raised more than £20,000 for the Ryedale Multiple Sclerosis Society.
The over-40s event, which was watched by about 500 people and received international as well as national coverage, being featured in magazines such as Rugby World, was organised by Marcus and Nina Aldrich, of Whitwell-on-the-Hill.
Now another match is to be staged at the school at 1.30pm on Saturday, March 1, raising funds this time for both Yorkshire Cancer Care and MS-UK.
The following day, Sedbergh Casterton Preparatory School in the Yorkshire Dales will be holding its own XV Veterans Get Your Boots On match, supported by ex-pupil and Gloucester and England player, James Simpson Daniel.
Mr Aldrich, who has founded XV Veterans, the charity behind Get Your Boots On, says it harnesses the compelling and enduring spirit, camaraderie and competitiveness of former rugby players for good causes.
He said: “Our vision is to create a national network of participating XV Veterans teams playing rugby matches annually at partner schools, generating funds for a wide range of charitable causes.
“XV Veterans are committed to enabling anyone aged between 38 and 99 to have another go at rugby in a structured, competitive and truly memorable way, reigniting their passion for the game and at the same time helping to raise valuable funds for charity.”
He said next year, when the Rugby World cup would be staged in the UK, he was hoping at least 50 schools and clubs would host XV Veterans Get Your Boots On matches on the same weekend.
He added that this year’s match at Terrington would be dedicated to the memory of Nigel Williams, from Norton, who played in the inaugural game. He died later in the year.
He said: “We are asking anyone who is interested in playing in this year’s game to get in touch as soon as possible, as we only have a limited number of places to play.”