The first week of October started with the mission to take some good friends to their first professional rugby match live. And for my wife and I was also something new as we were going to watch the match at The Stoop. We have watched some great matches at Twickenham Stadium and the Olympic Stadium, but now it would be the first at the home ground of one of the local teams. The match: Harlequins x Gloucester for the the Premiership Rugby Cup.
We got to Twickenham station quite early because we wanted to pass by Twickenham Stadium first to show the third biggest stadium in Europe and perform a line out for a picture of course! After a failed attempt we nailed the shot! We popped to the shop to get some souvenirs and gifts and had a pleasant surprise to meet a Brazilian couple from São Paulo who we might have met before during the Brazilian championship in a pitch somewhere. Yes, we are everywhere!
We got to Twickenham Stoop and I must say there was something different about that place. It was a different feeling from those I got when entering Twickenham or the Olympic Stadium. I went to the Olympic Stadium during the Olympics and it just can’t get better than that. Watching England and Barbarians, the 7s World Series or the Premiership Final at Twickenham was massive, no doubt about that. But I’ve passed the recent years watching matches on TV and I found fascinating the fact that the rugby stadiums were not that big as we were used to football stadiums in Brazil. Even tough the teams had a global influence with top international players, the stadiums were not that impressive which makes it more intimate I suppose. Looking into Harlequins for example, I always wondered why not use Twickenham Stadium instead, yet I found adorable seeing the supporters so close to the action at The Stoop. And there we were at The Stoop closer to the pitch as I was to the TV set at home. And that was incredible!
We got there quite early to explore a bit and in time to have a meal as we were starving without lunch. After checking the pitch we took a look at the shop. I got one more shirt for my collection, but this time with an autograph by Nathan Earle who was at the shop at that time. Right after that we were welcomed by some nice people at the stalls having fun. We got our pizza, took some photos with the mascots, grabbed our pints and had a good time before the match.
The match was really good, full of emotion and loads of points in a well balanced dispute. Although I was interested in watching the game between explaining one thing or another about the rules to our friends and enjoying my beer, I was able to take some nice pictures. I wonder what kind of pictures could I get if I was on the pitch with a press pass, but that was not the priority for this event (not yet!).
When the match was over with a great victory for Harlequins we were amazed by the humility of the players once again coming to chat with family and friends just like we were used to do back home in Brazil as family and friends were the only ones who dared to watch in so many times. But here it was different, we had international professional players that would stop to take a picture and perhaps have a quick chat. It comes to show how spectacular this game is. Better yet, we didn’t realise that there would have a women’s match afterwards, so that was a great surprise! Grabbed another pint and went closer to the pitch to watch them warm up. Unfortunately the battery of my camera was dying and I couldn’t take many photos of their match.
Unfortunately not many people stayed for the women’s match and I can say that they missed another great match and the opportunity to have a quick chat with the lovely players after their victory. We were very happy just to hang around a little bit more with them and show our support for women’s sports. Excellent atmosphere!