Youngsters from Market Rasen and Louth Rugby Club played a part in creating history as they participated in the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup, hosted by Leicester Tigers.
Since being launched during the 2008/09 season, the nationwide grassroots rugby event has seen more than 70,000 children take part.
This season sees the 10th anniversary edition of the event – the ‘Testimonial Season’ – with Tigers hosting their festival at Oakham RFC.
The two Market Rasen junior sides were among 36 under 11 and under 12 teams in attendance, and got the chance to strut their stuff in front of Tigers players Manu Tuilagi and Matt Smith, who were casting their eyes over the next generation of stars.
And while they missed out on the chance to attend next May’s Aviva Premiership Rugby Final, despite displaying plenty of skill and effort, 11-year-old Will Neesham insisted he had loved every minute of the experience.
“This tournament is really fun because you get to play loads of rugby and there’s lots of tries,” said the Lincoln Minster School pupil.
“I’m a Leicester Tigers fan, so it was great that there were some players here because we got the chance to meet some of our heroes.
“When I was little, my dad took me to Leicester and I’ve been watching them since then.”
Teams from across the county will compete at various festivals hosted by the 12 Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs this season, with the opportunity to earn a trip to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final on May 26.
There they will meet a Land Rover rugby ambassador, join in a Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup Parade at half-time and hear which of them has won a club MVP award.
Market Rasen did at least get the chance to rub shoulders with rugby’s elite in Tuilagi and Smith.
The former admitted he had been impressed with what he had seen, in particular stressing the importance of grassroots rugby.
“It’s very important to get the kids involved in tournaments like this, the younger the better,” he said.
“It’s good for them to learn the skills and develop their game as young as possible.
“I remember playing in similar tournaments and you learn a lot at that young age.
“It’s the most important time to develop their game.”
* Land Rover is celebrating its ‘Testimonial Season’; 10 years of the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup.
The national series of grassroots rugby festivals is testament to Land Rover’s continued support of grassroots rugby through its ‘We Deal In Real’ campaign. Follow @LandRoverRugby #WeDealInReal