Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Ilkley skipper Vincent is ready for his big day
Eight years ago, Stuart Vincent turned up at Stacks Field to play a couple of games after finishing university.
On Saturday, he will lead Ilkley out at Twickenham for the biggest day in the club’s history.
The RFU Intermediate Cup final against East Grinstead will be the highlight of the 29-year-old full back’s career.
And after recovering from a calf injury sustained in training after the dramatic semi-final win over Stoke, he admits he is relieved to be able to run out at English rugby’s headquarters.
It will also help banish the pain of last season when he missed his side’s Yorkshire Shield triumph over York which qualified them for the National competition.
“I was certainly worried that I might miss out again when I was first injured,” said Vincent, “but I am training fully again and getting ready for Saturday.
“This is a huge occasion for Ilkley – the biggest day in the club’s history – and we all want to win that cup.
"So far this has been a special year what with the opening of the new clubhouse, the visit of Martin Johnson, then the semi-final against Stoke, which is the finest game of club rugby I have ever played in with a wonderful atmosphere too.”
Vincent, who is in his third year as captain, added: “I can remember the bad times here.
“I was in the side that struggled and was then relegated from North East One, but now things have swung round.
“I have never played at Twickenham and neither have many of my colleagues, but this is our big chance. We so want to bring the cup to Ilkley.”
Meanwhile, head coach Rhys Morgan has deliberately kept his team on a tight leash.
“In the week before the semi-final against Stoke they were ready to tear the dressing room walls down by Tuesday if I had let them,” said Morgan.
“I have been keen not to fuel things up to soon. I want them to be ready to channel all that pent-up aggression in the final.”
Morgan, who has experienced Twickenham as a Yorkshire player, knows it is a special occasion for many of his men but he is keen to make sure the occasion doesn’t overtake the performance.
Ilkley travel down tomorrow morning but Morgan admitted: “If it had been just down to me I would have gone down tomorrow night and had a good night’s rest.”