Dream comes true for Ottery tag-rugby youngsters

PUBLISHED: 13:48 24 April 2009 | UPDATED: 09:03 18 June 2010

Tag-rugby team members from Ottery St Mary Primary School.  Picture: submitted

Tag-rugby team members from Ottery St Mary Primary School. Picture: submitted

AN AFTER-school activity turned into a dream come true experience in front of 55,000 fans at the home of English rugby for a group of Ottery youngsters last Saturday.

The team lines up for its official photograph.   Picture: submitted

AN AFTER-school activity turned into a "dream come true" experience in front of 55,000 fans at the home of English rugby for a group of Ottery youngsters last Saturday.

Tag-rugby stars from Ottery St Mary Primary School made a sporting appearance at Twickenham during the EDF Energy Cup final after triumphing in a regional competition - their first competitive test.

The year six underdogs had never played a competitive match before going on to win the right to fly the flag for the Exeter Chiefs at the showpiece event.

The mixed group of 10 and 11 year-olds kept up their fine form at half-time during the match, bagging a 1-1 draw in a 10-minute demonstration of the sport against London Wasps representatives Oldfield Primary School, despite a very early morning.

"We all had to meet at 6am and were all very excited but too tired to show our emotions - we got on the coach yawning", said Maria Gannon, 11.

Maya Elston, 11, added: "We only realised just how massive Twickenham was when we stepped out of the coach."

"We were raring to go as the half-time whistle blew," said Harry Payne, 11.

Team-mate Kane Floyd, 11, added: "We jogged on to the pitch as an ecstatic crowd cheered and blew horns."

Georgia Cotterill, 10, said: "The atmosphere was amazing - everybody was cheering and shouting and really supporting us."

An appearance on England's pitch saw time fly by, according to Chloe Surridge, 11, who said: "We played for 10 minutes even though it seemed like three".

Jess Batten Stevens, 11, summed up the group's experience by saying: "It was a dream come true, we really felt like rugby stars."

Proud Ottery St Mary Primary School PE co-ordinator Dan Western felt his team held their own against tough opposition and said: "They (Oldfield) were old hands, they had been to Twickenham three times before.

"It (tag rugby) is an extra curricular activity for our school, but we've got some really talented children and a really strong team ethic.

"Rugby is always seen as a male sport, but in tag rugby girls like it as much as boys, which really shows its uniqueness.


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