Droitwich has been gripped by cup fever ahead of the appearance of the town’s rugby club in tomorrow’s RFU Senior Vase Final against Farnham at Twickenham (1pm).
Droitwich take an unbeaten record in league and cup rugby this season – they have already won Midlands Three West (South) – and hope to add the national Senior Vase the Midlands equivalent they won in March.
The Twickenham final will be the biggest match in Droitwich’s history and it is not just those associated with the rugby club who will be making the trip down the M40.
“We’ve got eight coaches of supporters going from the club, the football club are also taking a couple of coaches and there are three or four pubs in the town that have are also taking coaches and that’s not including people who will be making their own way there,” said Droitwich captain James Shewell.
“The interest in the town has been fantastic. People come up to you and talk about Twickenham and the success we have had this season.
“The RFU also deserve some credit here for the way they have priced the Finals Day. It’s £5 and £2 for juniors so you can’t argue with that.”
Droitwich’s success has been based on one of the strongest mini and junior sections in North Midlands and Shewell hopes that this season’s cup run will not only raise the profile of the club but encourage some of those youngsters to want to play for the first team.”
“We have got one of the best mini and junior sections around but at the moment they youngsters talk about wanting to play for Worcester Warriors,” he said.
“Hopefully the success and profile we have enjoyed this season will encourage them to want to play for Droitwich.”
A year ago Droitwich were in the doldrums having been relegated from Midlands Two West (South) and they were struggling for numbers at training.
A new coaching team, headed by director of rugby Adam Drew and player/coach Pete Knight, have put structures in place that have been rewarded with early success and there is now strong competition for places.
“Pete Knight coming in has been a big factor,” Shewell said. “He’s got experience at a higher level, he’s a brilliant guy and the new coaching team have made sure that training is enjoyable.
“We’ve had good numbers at training all season and we had 40 training on Thursday night even though the season is over for some of those players.
“The second team all turned up and trained. Perhaps they are hoping that someone gets an injury and can’t play in the final, but it’s great to see that commitment and competition.”
As with the semi-final against Tarleton, Shewell has had some difficult selection decision to make and there will be disappointed players who will be watching rather than playing at Twickenham having been left out of the 25-man squad.
But flanker Nick Godfrey is in the squad and is set to make his Twickenham debut at the age of 46 having retired from playing at the end of last season.
Godfrey took up coaching but soon missed playing and will not regret having changed his mind.