Rugby club gets ready for anniversary match

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As the First World War song almost says: “It’s a long way to Pontardawe.” Nevertheless 100 years ago in 1914, with the war already raging, the touring side from the Swansea Valley in south Wales travelled the 180 miles or so by road to Lutterworth for a rugby match.

Many players on both sides were subsequently called up, and not all of them came home again.

Now – 100 years on – the two sides will meet again in a poignant re-match at the Lutterworth club’s ground in Ashby Lane, Bitteswell.

Club spokesman and under 7s manager Becki Barnett said: “Given that it is the 100- year anniversary of the start of World War One and of two clubs who united in 1914, we are repeating the match.

“We will also be remembering all those that served in the war, were killed in action or injured, and those who continue to serve today.

“It is tragic to think that a lot of the players from 1914 went to war and never returned – and we still have selfless brave service personnel that do that for us today.”

Cross-referencing the names of the 1914 Lutterworth rugby players with the names on Lutterworth war memorial, it looks – unofficially – as if three members of the team might have been killed in the war.

They are J Herbert, R Sharp and A Drake.

The day will start with the club’s minis teams doing a sponsored five-mile walk around the club dressed as either people from 1914 or different services.

They will be then having a picnic and team games in anticipation of the matches.

Both Lutterworth and Pontardawe teams for Under 15s and 16s will be coming out to a guard of honour provided by the minis, a two-minute silence will be held and the game will kick off at 1pm.

The seniors will again come out to a guard of honour and a two minute silence will be held. Kick-off of the senior game will be 2.45pm.

In the evening, the club is holding a social event so that the two teams can relax and chat over the day.

Weather permitting, there will also be a band playing from an open-sided trailer on the fields, and a barbecue.

Becki added: “The majority of the Pontardawe players are actually staying over at the club so it should be a night to remember!”

The day of sport, friendship and remembrance is on Saturday August 30, with the fun starting at 9.30am.