He may not have been able to help his team to lift their local Land Rover Premiership Cup, but Harvey Sharpe did not leave empty-handed after he was selected for the Spirit of Rugby Award.
Launched during the 2008-09 season, the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup is the first national grassroots tournament officiated by Premiership Rugby and run in conjunction with all 12 Premiership Rugby clubs.
It was the turn of Northampton Saints to host under-11s mini rugby teams at their training pitches next to Franklin’s Gardens last Saturday, with Sharpe representing Kettering Rugby Club.
In total, over 7,000 children will participate in the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup over the course of the season as they go in search of a spot in the ‘Parade of Champions’ during half-time of the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final 2015.
Sharpe played a galvanising role as Kettering gave everything they had on the pitch, narrowly missing out on a semi-final spot to eventual winners Silhillians. And it was a performance that did not go unnoticed by the community managers and referees who singled him and his teammates out for the Land Rover Spirit of Rugby Award.
“It makes me feel very, very happy and honoured to win an award like this,” said 10-year-old Sharpe.
“To win some equipment for the team will help us a lot, and as soon as it was announced everyone was jumping around and cheering so I’m quite proud.”
The award recognises a team player who has epitomised the true spirit of rugby, played with grit and determination showing exemplary fair play throughout.
On the pitch the side were polite and respectful to the referees, while off it the coaches ensured they would make substitutions to involve everyone and make sure no games were one-sided.
Sharpe added: “It’s been a great day. Playing in front of so many people like this is amazing and getting to represent Kettering on this stage has been good.”
“Festivals like this help us to improve as players, and give us a confidence boost when we win, but also teaches you that it’s important not to get too down if you don’t.
“You always have to keep on fighting and stay in the competition, and our coaches at Kettering always try and teach us that.
“Here we’ve been working on playing our moves and switches, but the coaches have been swapping everyone around so we all can play as much as possible.
“I’m a big Northampton Saints fan so it means a lot to be playing at their ground and to go and watch the game later.
“It’s very exciting that the club gets involved and it makes me feel proud to see the players here watching us. Luther Burrell is my favourite player and I’d love to grow up to play like him for the Saints.”
Land Rover supports grassroots rugby and provides the opportunity for over 7,000 youngsters to take part in the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup each season. Keep up-to-date with the latest Land Rover rugby activity by following @LandRoverRugby on Twitter.