Commons & Lords take on Barnes rugby club at Twickenham and the IPF charity is the winner.
It was a very different match day at Twickenham Stadium as two teams ran, walked or limped out onto the hallowed turf for their team photos, watched by a couple of Chelsea Pensioners who were there in support.
The Commons & Lords squad was a mixture of grizzled Vets and pacy researchers. The Barnes Originals featured those who hung their boots up years ago and younger club players.
This was the annual Commons & Lords match in support of the RFU Injured Players Foundation and regardless of the final score, which was 51-10 to Barnes, it was already a huge success, Barnes having raised more than £20,000 before the event, double last year’s amount and double their original target.
After the first quarter, Michael Whitfield, the Barnes loose-head prop, who had been playing alongside his son Charlie on the wing, recalled last playing aged 54, a decade earlier.
“It takes time to get used to being hit by the opposition and to tackle them when it’s not something you do anymore!” he laughed.
Michael who together with Lord Addington is a trustee of the Atlas Foundation, said he had agreed to put a team together for the event as “Twickenham is our local ground and the IPF is a great charity.”
The match commentator delivered a script full of laughs, the 200+ spectators, including Dehenna Davison MP, Levelling Up Minister. applauded all those hobbling off and Whitfield, at 10-5 down reflected: “I predict a win to Barnes as we put all our old players on first and have kept the youngsters until last!”
Among those playing for the Commons & Lords were: Ben Everitt MP, Sam Tarry MP, Matt Warman MP, Lord Addington and his Adjutant, Richard Austin, former player and Secretary of England Deaf.
Also in the squad, just prior to his retirement, was PC Nick Carlisle, from the Diplomatic Protection unit of the Met. Nick was awarded the Queens Medal for bravery after courageously trying to rugby tackle the terrorist who murdered his friend, PC Keith Palmer during the Westminster Bridge terror attack in 2017.
And, despite some rainstorms, the atmosphere was fantastic, the rugby was a combination of breath-taking interceptions and sprints downfield and slow, hobbling progress and limping retirements. Most importantly, the final amount raised will help catastrophically injured rugby players to live full lives and fund research to prevent serious injuries.
You can donate here: https://www.barnowcares.com/invitationalxv
And can discover more about the IPF here: https://www.rfuipf.org.uk