Parliamentarians try for change at the home of Rugby

Posted On: 
10th June 2019

Dods Events' Alex Hancock reports on the recent Commons and Lords Rugby Union FC (CLRUFC) charity fixture, which was this year raised £10,000 divided between two charities: the Injured Players Foundation & Try for Change.

Commons and Lords Rugby Union FC team photo - Left to Right: Nigel Adams MP, Matt Warman MP, Senator Neale Richmond (Captain of Dail and Seanad XV), Toby Perkins MP, Mark Pawsey MP, Paul Farrelly MP, Andy Reed ex MP, Lord Addington, Huw Edwards ex MP.
Credit: 
Commons and Lords Rugby Union Football Club (CLRUFC)

For the last 10 years, the Commons and Lords Rugby Union Football Club (CLRUFC) have played an annual charity game on the hallowed turf of Twickenham where Peers, MPs and a few lucky staffers get to show off their rugby skills. The opposition for this year’s match was the Veseyans Casuals, who were founded in 1927 by former pupils of Bishop Vesey Grammar School.

Two charities were supported, the first was The Injured Players Foundation (IPF) with which the Club have had a longstanding relationship. The IPF supports rugby players who sustain catastrophic spinal cord or traumatic brain injuries and help prevent future accidents through research and education.

The second charity was Try for Change, the official charity of the Rugby Football Union. Try for Change uses the power of rugby union to improve the lives of marginalised and disadvantaged people in England and across the world, funding projects that achieve social impact and improve education attainment. A fantastic £10,000 was raised for these very worthwhile causes.

After the customary team photos and warmup, the game began with the Veseyans taking an early lead and scoring two tries in the opening five minutes, without the CLRUFC getting a touch of the ball. After the initial setback, the second quarter began with a rousing pre-restart speech from Lord Addington, which some claim rivalled Ian McGeechan’s 1997 Lions address. Despite an early injury to one of their flankers, the Commons and Lords came back with a vengeance and equalised the scores. The rest of the game was played at a hard paced and hard-fought tempo, with notable performances from Paul Farrelly MP, who kept the team in check, Mark Pawsey MP, and the debutant Nigel Adams MP, who showed that his sporting prowess extends far beyond the cricket field. 

Despite some of the finest rugby ever played by the CLRUFC they lost to the ever dangerous Veseyans, by one point, with a final score of 36-35. 

Speaking after the match, Mark Pawsey MP said, “It’s a great privilege to take part in these matches alongside colleagues from both Houses. We were able to raise money for some great causes and bring people together in a way which only sport can.”

The occasion, the rugby, and the fundraising made this an enjoyable experience for all and showed parliamentary rugby at its best. The ethos of the club was rife throughout, to foster national and international relations, development and friendship through Parliamentary Rugby, with people of all political persuasions working for a common cause and agreeing on strategy. Perhaps if this could be adopted in the Commons chamber, we might finally get Brexit out of the news cycle!