Young rugby players from Market Rasen RFC have earned the opportunity to play at Welford Road, home of 10-time English champions Leicester Tigers.
The Market Rasen Under-10s claimed one of the qualifying places after topping their pool in the final festival of this season’s Prima Tiger Cup, played at Mellish RFC in Nottinghamshire.
The Prima Tiger Cup, sponsored by Prima Solutions of Loughborough, is enjoying its biggest-ever season with 70 teams entering the qualifying stages played at regional festivals in Norfolk, Suffolk, Staffordshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire.
The qualifiers from each of the five festivals go forward to the super 16s round at Welford Road, to be played before a Leicester Tigers first-team fixture at the 24,000-capacity Welford Road stadium.
Market Rasen joined teams from Bakewell, Belper, Cleethorpes, Goole, Kesteven, Lincoln, Matlock, Melbourne, Mellish, Nottingham Boots Corsairs, Nuneaton, Scunthorpe, Sleaford, Southwell, Trentham and West Bridgford at the festival, with more than 400 parents cheering their support from the touchlines.
Tigers players Tom Price and Scott Steele, who both played in the World Junior Championships this summer, were also there to watch, meet the teams and offer their encouragement to the youngsters.
And after some close-fought games, it was Market Rasen, Melbourne and Nuneaton who celebrated qualification for the knockout stages.
They join teams from Holt, North Walsham, Tamworth, Wolverhampton, Market Harborough, Ashby, Hinckley, Oadby Wyggestonian, Braintree and Haywards Heath in the next round.
Market Rasen will run out at Welford Road in the second round, to be played before the match against Montpellier in Europe’s Heineken Cup on Sunday, December 8.