Fond farewell for youngsters who have finished their junior rugby journey at Saffron Walden

A view of the Gilbert match ball during the Challenge Cup at Franklin's Gardens

Saffron Walden Rugby Club has said goodbye to its long-serving colts team and coaches. - Credit: PA

Saffron Walden Rugby Club bade farewell to their colts squad and its coaches - although hopefully not for good.

Most of the squad, as well as coaches Iain Keys, Nick Carey and Damien Quinn, have been with the club since they were in the U5 age group.

One final game in front of families and friends, followed by lunch and awards, was a fitting way to acknowledge the passing of an era.

A spokeswoman for the club said: "Many of the upper age colts have been with the squad since they were five and numbers have remained high throughout the years.

"They are one of the most successful teams to have come through both Wendens Ambo and ourselves.

"To name a few, they won the Norwich Festival whilst on tour at U9, U10 and U11 and were second in the Essex cup for U12 and U13.

"They also won the Westcliffe tournament at U13 and the County Cup four times in six years, including three successive wins. They also played in the Eastern Counties final, coming second for three years in a row.

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"Unfortunately they have not had chance to play matches this last season but the strong squad were showing some skilled rugby."

One parent said: "It has been my pleasure to watch these little boys grow to rugby giants. Iain has created a bunch of lads who are committed, brave and have his values of fair play, honesty and integrity.”

Among the many highlights over the years have been some of the tours, including rugby matches at Twickenham and Wembley, a training session with Leicester Tigers and a personal Q & A session with Austin Healey.

The spokeswoman added: "It is the end of an era for these players with many of them heading off to university to continue playing rugby in the BUCS leagues.

"On behalf of the club and all the parents, we wish the coaches and the leaving players our warmest regards."

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