Saracens sponsors Sanlam Private Investments took full advantage of the team being in the North West to play Sale Sharks. Their Kirby Lonsdale office arranged a once in a lifetime event for around 300 local children at Underley Park the home of the Kirby Lonsdale Rugby Union Club.
The club has a rich history being formed in 1877 with the first reported match being played against a mixed team of Masters and boys from Heversham Grammar School; that game was a defeat but Kirby Lonsdale were the victors in the return fixture.
Kirby played outside of the RFU set up until 1888 when they applied to join the Westmorland County Union; with a team that was on the up more opposition was sought. There was some dispute over the year Kirby was formed when the RFU listed their inception as 1890. However the cub provided proof and things were put right. They celebrated their centenary slightly late in 1980.
Things lifted again for the club after a new clubhouse was built in the early 80’s at a time that coincided with things changing in the world of rugby union. Kirby have the distinction of playing the very first league game in England playing Cockermouth in 1984.
Both a mini and youth section were introduced which now sees up to 300 youngsters turn up raring to go at the club most Sunday mornings. And so it was when David Strettle and Ben Ransom arrived on the chilly Sunday morning after their team Saracens had beaten Sales Sharks the day before.
The aspiring rugby hopefuls spanned all ages from the U/6s to U/16s and took part in a two-hour session where some groups experienced a ‘hands on’ interactive training session with David and Ben. Others had the opportunity to meet the players and ask questions. An always popular signing/photo session took place at the close of ‘play’.
Charles Cohen, Head of Sanlam Private Investments Kirkby Lonsdale office said:
“We were delighted to be able to arrange for two Premiership Rugby players to attend the mini and youth training session at Underley Park and support our local club in this way. Kirkby Lonsdale has a fantastic mini and youth rugby set up and we were thrilled to be able to support both the club and our community by sharing access to the Saracens Club, which is sponsored by Sanlam Private Investments’
Kirby Lonsdale is a very long way from Allianz Park but having had the chance to meet and chat to both David and Ben I’m sure they’ll have won over some new fans for Saracens!