- Northamptonshire club one game away from Twickenham final
- S&L comfortable with away semi at Yarnbury
Stewarts & Lloyds (S&L) players will be allowed to use the T-word this week as they prepare for the biggest match in the Northamptonshire club’s history.
The Corby-based club are just one game away from an appearance in a Twickenham final but the RFU Senior Vase semi-final at Yarnbury on April 19 will be the first time that the players have mentioned playing at HQ since they beat Pershore in the Midlands Senior Vase final last month.
“Until now Twickenham has been a dirty word for us, but now we are just 80 minutes from Twickenham we will be talking about it,” said S&L captain Gareth Lewis.
“We are going well in Midlands Three East (South) and we are still in with a chance of promotion so we have been trying to keep our eyes on those matches and not thinking too much about Twickenham.”
If S&L are to reach a Twickenham final they will have to do it the hard way as they are the one of three Midlands winners of RFU Cup competitions who have been drawn away in the national semi-finals.
But they are not worried about having to travel to Horsforth near Leeds to take on Yarnbury, who qualified from the North.
“When the draw was made and we knew we were away there was no negative reaction,” Lewis said.
“We have an excellent away record this season and we don’t see not having home advantage as being a big problem.
“The boys tend to raise their game when they are away from home as they did at Pershore. They staged the game superbly, they put on great hospitality for us after the match but we went there and spoilt their party.”
Lewis, an inside centre, has enjoyed great success in his first season as captain of S&L, which remains a club with strong community links even though it was formed as a works team of a former steel company in Corby.
“We have never had such a successful season in the club’s history and it is reward for the hard work and enthusiasm of the players,” he said.
“Throughout the winter numbers at training have been good and we have had solid attendances at both our Tuesday and Thursday sessions.
“When we started off our cup campaign back in September we didn’t expect to get this far but we had a couple of good wins and then we thought: hold on, we might do quite well in this competition.
“We’ve got quite a good mix of experienced players and youngsters who have come through the system. Most of the squad are local boys and we are a club that is proud of its links with the local community.”