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New £4.5m rugby club’s opening day a sunny success

PUBLISHED: 09:50 24 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:02 24 October 2018

Club chairman Andrew Kilby with club president, Peter Barry after presenting Honorary Life Memberships to members of the Barnard Family in recognition of their collective generosity. PHOTO: Wymondham Rugby Club

Club chairman Andrew Kilby with club president, Peter Barry after presenting Honorary Life Memberships to members of the Barnard Family in recognition of their collective generosity. PHOTO: Wymondham Rugby Club

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Hundreds turned out to watch Wymondham’s new rugby ground open after years of planning.

Dave Swinbourne leading the fight back. PHOTO: Wymondham Rugby ClubDave Swinbourne leading the fight back. PHOTO: Wymondham Rugby Club

Norfolk rugby star Tom Youngs was the guest of honour as Wymondham Rugby Club opened their new £4.5m ground on Saturday, October 20.

Hundreds of members, players and supporters basked in warm sunshine at Barnard Fields to see the first game at the new home for the club which Wymondham lost 17-25 to a strong Holt side.

The 30-acre site is three times larger than the club’s old Tuttles Lane home and Saturday’s opening was the culmination of a 15-year campaign to move.

“We’ve made it - literally!” said club chairman Andrew Kilby.

Club Captain Josh Wright, Harry Downton (WRFC U14), Tom Youngs former England player, Issac Ward (WRFC U14), Nick Youngs  former Leicester & England player. PHOTO: Wymondham Rugby ClubClub Captain Josh Wright, Harry Downton (WRFC U14), Tom Youngs former England player, Issac Ward (WRFC U14), Nick Youngs former Leicester & England player. PHOTO: Wymondham Rugby Club

“So many people have helped us over the years to turn this from a pipe dream into a plan and now finally a reality. It’s fantastic - we’ve gone from having among the worst facilities of any rugby club in East Anglia to the best!”

Leicester Tigers captain Tom Youngs said: “Rugby is a great sport in bringing the community together and it’s very rewarding to see the results of all the hard work that has gone into developing Wymondham’s new home.

“I’m delighted to be able to share in the occasion and wish everyone at the club all the very best for the future.”

Tigers will use Barnard Fields as the Norfolk base for the Premiership side’s Developing Player Programme, coaching the county’s most talented Youth players and identifying those with the potential to become professionals.

Wymondham marked the official opening with a pre-match lunch for members followed by a VIP evening dinner with guest speaker Kyran Bracken, one of England’s Rugby World Cup winners from 2003.

Club captain Josh Wright said players had happy memories from their time at the old ground at Tuttles Lane, but now the club had the facilities to match their ambitions.

“We outgrew Tuttles Lane years ago,” he said.

“We’re sorry to leave it behind but we badly needed this move - now we have what we need to attract new players and build the strength of our squad.

“It’s taken a long time coming but this is just the start for us!”

Wymondham Rugby Club will say goodbye to their old premises with a fireworks display on Friday, November 2.

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