- Punter makes tidy profit after Sharples makes debut
- I knew about the bet, so I’m pleased for him – Sharples
Photo: Getty Images
When Gloucester Rugby speedster Charlie Sharples was given the nod to enter the fray in the 57th minute of England’s 23-19 win against Wales last Saturday, the 21-year-old was understandably delighted. But one man had 2,400 other reasons to be cheerful.
BBC Radio Suffolk journalist Simon Warr first spotted Sharples’ potential when the then 16-year-old impressed while playing for St Peter’s School, Gloucester, at St Joseph's College Schoolboys Rugby Festival in 2005.
Warr’s confidence in the youngster was heightened after a 17-year-old Sharples scored hat-tricks for his school in both the Daily Mail Schools Cup Under 18 semi-final and final, played at Twickenham, five years ago – earning him the nickname ‘Champagne Charlie’.
Positive that Sharples had all the credentials of a future international, Warr headed to his local bookmaker and placed a £20 bet on the youngster making the grade and pulling on an England Test jersey, at odds of 120/1.
Fast-forward to Saturday, August 6, 2011 and Warr is exactly £2,400 richer – and insists that the Champagne is certainly on ice.
Photo: Getty Images
“I’m delighted,” said Warr. “But it’s not really about the money, I’m also really happy for Charlie because he’s worked so hard to get to where he is now.
"I spotted something in him at a young age, and wrote to him at Gloucester when he has just joined their academy. He got back to me and thanked me for putting so much faith in him.”
Warr was forced to wait before he could find out whether or not Sharples had made it onto the pitch against Wales, because he was 20,000ft up in the air en-route to Northern Ireland to film his part in ‘Sunday Morning live’ when the game was being played.
“It was a bit frustrating not knowing to be honest, but a friend of mine rang to confirm it. I’ve just got to make sure I can find the slip now,” he added.
Sharples was pleased to be of service, saying: “I’ve been in touch with Simon a few times over the years and I knew about the bet, so I’m pleased for him, although I don’t think I’ll be getting a share of it!”
Speaking about his previous HQ experiences, before his England debut, Sharples added: “I played at Twickenham in the Daily Mail Schools Cup final in 2006 and then the Middlesex Sevens about three years ago, but making my debut in front of a full house – and to get the win – was amazing.”