Midlands-based touring side Old Wheatleyan’s RFC set to play at Sidmouth on Easter Saturday

Old Wheatleyan’s who are at Sidmouth RFC on Easter Saturday (12 noon)

Old Wheatleyan’s who are at Sidmouth RFC on Easter Saturday (12 noon) - Credit: Archant

Easter Saturday (March 30) see’s Sidmouth RFC welcoming a touring Old Wheatleyan’s XV back onto the rugby field after a gap of 49 years, writes Paul Wright.

Old Wheatleyan’s RFC are based in Coventry in the West Midlands and have been visiting Sidmouth during the Easter break in large numbers every year since 1960. The Wheat’s last played a competitive fixture against Sidmouth in 1964 and this is the first year that they have been able to get sufficient numbers and interest again to not only tour, but also play in East Devon at the home of the Chiefs.

A recent upturn in the club’s fortunes has led to an increase in players and the resurgent club won the Midlands’s RFU Junior Vase last year and narrowly lost out to last year’s eventual winners in the national semi-final, when an appearance at Twickenham beckoned.!

The club has also enjoyed successive promotions in recent seasons and this term has consolidated in the Midlands 3 West (South).

Club captain Paul Wright says: “The tour is a testament to the current crop of individuals we have. A few years ago we couldn’t even fulfil our league fixtures and we were languishing at the bottom of the Midlands leagues, so I feel immensely proud to lead the lads out versus our hospitable opposition on Saturday that will complete a journey for many at the club”

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The Wheat’s have been through quite a transition over the last few years, with the regular fielding of a 2nd XV, and that has helped galvanise the club’s position within Midlands Rugby once more.

The main factor for this rejuvenation has come about due to a revitalised link with Bablake School as they were originally an Old Boy’s club linked to the school’s foundation. Many of the current crop of players attended the school (one player is still in attendance), not to mention a large proportion of the Old Boys that will be supporting in force from the side-lines this weekend used to also attend the Coventry School.

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Club captain Wright concluded: “The aim of this weekend tour is to give the Old Boys something to cheer about, some of whom have supported the club through thick and thin for many a drab year, and to re-establish links with Sidmouth RFC so we can hopefully make this an annual event once again, just like the good old days”

The game is scheduled for a mid-day kick-off tomorrow and supporters will be made very welcome.

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