Pride after Brid’s big day out at Twickenham

Bridlington's next generation of rugby heroes enjoyed a game outside Twickenham stadium. Picture by Mike Hopps.
Bridlington's next generation of rugby heroes enjoyed a game outside Twickenham stadium. Picture by Mike Hopps.

Win, lose or draw, Bridlington’s big day out at Twickenham was always going to be a special day.

‘Pride’ was the word most used by more than 500 Bridlington Rugby Club fans who attended on Saturday, and the light in which the town showed itself was brighter than the wonderful sun that flooded the capital.

Although many faced an arduous 6 hour journey, hampered even more by awful bank holiday traffic on the M25, spirits were high and chants of ‘Yorkshire, Yorkshire’ echoed round the home of rugby.

And despite a disappointing 22-30 defeat at the hands of the Brighton Blues in the RFU Intermediate Cup Final, proud fans continued to enjoy the occasion afterwards.

One fan who met the busloads who travelled south was former player and Bridlington exile John Dazley, who made a 20,000 mile round trip from New Zealand to see his beloved Brid in the biggest game in their history.

The former captain of the side, who moved to the southern hemisphere to play rugby 17 years ago, said: “When I heard that Bridlington were going to be playing at Twickenham, well, I couldn’t miss it. You can’t miss days like this, it’s absolutely huge.

“If you’re a rugby player, the dream is always to play at Twickenham.

“It’s a long way from New Zealand, I only arrived here yesterday, but the distance doesn’t really make much of a difference - it’s great to see the lads play and meet up with old friends. It’s a massive, massive thing and they did themselves proud.”

Another former player, Ali Blackhall, said he felt compelled to travel down from Edinburgh to watch the team.

“I thought Bridlington played exceptionally well against very difficult opponents, a much bigger and harder side.

“I left Bridlington 22 years ago, but I felt like I had to be here today. I left at 6.30am to drive, I needed to come and support my local team.”

Grant Walkington, who played in the same side as John and travelled down from Bridlington, was also full of pride.

He said: “They were slow off the mark, but after a tough first 20 minutes they got their act together and when they started running the ball at them they didn’t like it. They finished the stronger team.

“It is a proud day to come and see them at Twickenham. The chairman said last week that it was the biggest day in the club’s history and it really was.

“To see all these people from Bridlington outside the home of rugby, well you wouldn’t believe it.”

Another fan, Dave McDougall, said: “Despite the result, it was a pleasure to be here.

“I don’t know if it was nerves, or what, but we had a bad start. Yet after that, the boys did brilliantly well, and they can all hold their heads high.”

Audrey Haslam, who has been a club member for around 50 years, said: “It’s difficult to describe what it’s like to be here at Twickenham.

“For the players, and also for those who have followed to club. I have been associated with the club for many years, it is a community, and it shows Bridlington in the best possible light.

“Everyone involved in the club should be proud of themselves, and the town should be proud too.”

Keith Bellman and Brian Goodhand work on the gate at Dukes Park, and were overwhelmed by the team’s success in reaching the final.

Brian said: “It has been a wonderful day. We didn’t start well, but what a day out it is for everyone. Thoroughly enjoyable.”

Keith said: “It is the biggest day in 91 years, let’s just hope that it isn’t another 91 years until we get back here!”

Bridlington Town footballer Sam Hanson is more used to a spherical ball, but that didn’t stop him travelling down with his mum Andrea.

“The result was a shame, but I’m just happy for them that they got here,” said Sam.

“It’s been a nice atmosphere and it’s just been a good thing for Bridlington.”

After the final whistle, children from Bridlington dreamt of their own big sporting days out at Twickenham while throwing round a rugby ball in the shadow of the famous stadium.

Vanessa Rowbottom came to cheer on Bridlington with her two children.

She said: “We are all really proud of Bridlington. Hopefully one day it’ll be the turn of the young ones to come back and enjoy a game here.”

See full match report, reaction and more pictures on pages 64-69 and back page.