Yorkshire rugby players aim to score ‘longest try’

editorial image
Have your say

A Yorkshire rugby club is bidding to score what could be the ‘longest try’ in the sport’s history as part of an ambitious charity challenge.

A team of Wensleydale RUFC players and supporters are running the 235 miles from their Leyburn ground to the home of English rugby union - Twickenham Stadium.

The relay will take the group six days and will see them end their incredible journey by touching down to score a symbolic try during half-time when England take on Fiji on November 19.

Eight runners, including current and former players and parents of junior squad members, will carry a rugby ball over three-mile stages, aiming to cover 60 miles per day. They will be led by former Royal Marines commando and 1st XV player Dave Piper, 29, who is planning to run the entire route himself.

Stuart Bankier, Brian Carlisle and parents Glenn and Jemma Gotts, Ian Storer, Neil Aitken and Rachel Spensley make up the rest of the team. A support vehicle will carry six clubmates and 20 Wensleydale members will travel down to the international match to collect donations from England fans.

Other sections of the club will also contribute to the challenge, with senior and junior players notching up the 235 miles on rowing machines and on the pitch at the Dales clubhouse in a bid to raise £50,000 for the Great North Air Ambulance.

Proceeds will also go towards the club’s redevelopment work, which includes plans to demolish the outdated wooden entrance, changing rooms and toilets and replace them with a shop and office facilities.

The group will set off from Cawkill Park in Leyburn on November 13, and three rugby clubs along their route - Pontefract, Old Nottinghamians and Towcestrians - have agreed to provide refreshments and overnight accommodation for the runners before they arrive in west London.

“Dave has done some serious training and is in very good shape, but the others aren’t experienced runners, so they’ll do three miles each and then swap places. They’ll be staying at clubs along the way and eating food donated by supermarkets,” said Wensleydale player James Ashford.

“We’re a small club but we’re quite ambitious. Sport England will match fund us if we raise £50,000 and we want to modernise the clubhouse. There is no community hub in the local area so we want to be a place for people to hold gatherings.”

To donate, visit https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/wensleydalerufc/longesttry