West Leeds out to return with trophy on Twickenham return

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Yorkshire Two club West Leeds are ready for the biggest day in its history when they aim to win the RFU Senior Vase Final at Twickenham tomorrow.

They have played at headquarters once before when they challenged for the same prestigious trophy in 1998.

However, as chairman/backs coach Phil Christopher explained, this current vintage is better prepared for success ahead of their game with Bromley.

He recalled: “I played that day in ‘98 when unfortunately we were on the wrong end of a very good Huddersfield YMCA side.

“But we were a group of much older players coming to the end of our careers.

“It was a last hurrah for us almost, a last chance to go out in a blaze of glory and perhaps just getting to Twickenham was enough for us.

“But getting there isn’t the prize for this lot – they are young, ambitious and want to go down there and win and put on a show.

“That’s not arrogance. They know Bromley are a very good side.

“But we have had a really good season and just missed out on promotion from Yorkshire Two despite amassing 100 points.

“This has been a big focus, though, and it is the biggest game in the club’s history.”

Fittingly, Christopher isn’t the only link with ‘98 as around 500 West Leeds fans descend on Twickenham.

Dave Breakwell, who played fly-half that day, will watch his son Dale also take up the No 10 role tomorrow while current head coach Andy Neave faced Huddersfield YMCA and now sees his son Sam captain the club at Twickenham.

Meanwhile, they are not the only county representatives tomorrow given Yorkshire Three side Northallerton start the day’s events by taking on Battersea in the Junior Vase final (11am).

Around 300 supporters from the North Yorkshire town are expected to travel and head coach Alex Porter said: “It’s going to be fantastic.

“The local community has been fantastic in backing us and we have had loads of small businesses supporting us.

“Usually we try and get them right up for it in that hour before kick-off. This week, if anything, between Saturday and Sunday morning it’s going to be about keeping them calm.

“The fact we are going to run out of the same tunnel which all the England, New Zealand and Australian players do is absolutely terrific.”

British Lions legend and Yorkshire Carnegie chairman Sir Ian McGeechan has given the squad a pep talk in preparation.

Also, Yorkshire take on Berkshire in the National Under 20s Championships final.