A TOWN has been hit with rugby fever after a grassroots club has successfully battled its way to a final at the game’s most hallowed ground.

Northallerton Rugby Club is preparing for the biggest game in their history on Sunday, May 3 when they play Battersea Ironsides at Twickenham in the National Junior Vase finals.

Coach Alec Porter said the team were ecstatic to have reached the final at the hallowed pitch - and said win, lose or draw, they will have had their prize.

He said: “We are a level nine club in the Yorkshire Three Rugby Union League and were invited to have the chance to compete to play at Twickenham.

“We have never been in the competition before but we have managed to beat off all our rivals to win a place in the final.”

Northallerton were the underdogs going into their semi-final match against Rugby Lions – a former level two team with hopes of making it to the premiership before bankruptcy saw them relegated to level nine.

Mr Porter said: “I think they expected to beat us easily but we showed some real Yorkshire grit and the final score was 27-17 to us.”

Mr Porter said the club’s league results had dipped recently due to around seven players suffering broken bones since Christmas.

He added: “A cup team has been patched up and they will be wrapped in bubble wrap to keep them fit.”

Northallerton town has been inspired to get behind its home team – with around 10 new sponsors coming forward, and Lewis and Cooper agreeing to create a special window display and bake a cake for the team ahead of the game.

David Gearey, chairman of Lewis and Cooper, said: “Two members of our team have close links to the rugby club so we were delighted to support them.

“We are proud to be their sponsor and just hope the whole town gets behind them on May 3.”

A double-decker bus of family and fans will accompany the team to the ground in South West London the day before the match, with another following on the morning of the big game.

Mr Porter said it was great to have the support of local people.

“There’s a real buzz in the town – people have been terrific. It does really make a difference to know people are behind us and fans at the game always give us a boost,” he said.

Rugby stalwart Sir Ian McGeechan, former Scottish player and coach, will be visiting the team on Tuesday, April 28, to motivate and inspire the players, and give advice on playing in a big game.

Mr Porter said: “England coach Stuart Lancaster has also agreed to send us a video message with some words of encouragement – but the lads won’t need any more psyching up ahead of the big match, if anything I will probably have to calm them down.”