A day to remember

Saturday was wet and miserable but I had been looking forward to the day for weeks as I was going to my first every big live sporting event. Every year the Army and Navy play rugby at Twickenham Stadium for the Babcock Trophy and I have wanted to go to the match for years. I went with my friend Leah, a fellow Instructor at Cambs ACF, who had never been to a live sporting event before either. I had excellent, and very useful, information sent to me from the ticket administrator which made life easy when we got to the stadium. As I’m disabled I also received a ticket which allowed me free parking in the nearby Tesco car park. It was the longest drive I have ever done in well over a year and although a little apprehensive it was fine. As bad as the weather was the traffic was OK until we neared the stadium where it was grid locked. We had left early so that gave us plenty of time to get there before the match started.

The place was heaving and our first stop was the shop to so Leah could get her Army Rugby Shirt. After that we grabbed a Hot Dog, Leah went and put her shirt on and we made our way to our seats. The staff there we all excellent from getting into the grounds, asking our way to the enclosure and getting to the seat. I expected to see quite a few people in wheelchairs but there were very few and I didn’t see another amputee there at all. Our location was excellent, we were in the East stand which was opposite the player’s entrance and as close to the pitch as you can get. The only downside to where were sitting was there was no cover, as it rained most of the time we got soaked on and off all match. At least I know now and if I go again next year I may even invest in a poncho. I took my camera and managed to get some decent pictures thanks to our location in the stadium.

The Military Wives Choir sang before the match and the Coldstream Guards played the National Anthem. The atmosphere was electric and I had never been in an environment like it before. The Army gave away some early penalties which the Navy converted but it was the Army all the way. It all got a bit scrappy at the beginning of the second half and Isoa Damudamu was stretched off with a knee injury that will see him out of action for 6-8 weeks. The final score was 48-9 to the Army, it was a brilliant match and I will definitely be going again next year. For me the only thing that let it down was about 3 streakers and 3 fancy dress pitch invasions which equated to extra stewards who hampered my photography opportunities!

We waited to see the Army collect their trophy which gave the majority of the crowd time to disperse. I found leaving the stadium a lot more difficult than getting in, it was made more difficult by the fact that we seemed to be going against the flow on the way back to the car. I found the way back was slightly up hill and had to stop a couple of times as my arms where burning. The biggest obstacle was a kerb followed by a steep slope just by Tesco and thankfully Leah was on hand to help me. I filled the car with fuel and as it was a pay at pump I managed OK on crutches (don’t tell the physios) but again Leah was on had just in case I decided to inspect the floor again. I had the most amazing day, I want to thank Leah for coming with me and I just hope she enjoyed it as much as I did.

You can see the best photos I took of the match at


or at


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