Twickenham is just a step away for S&L

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It is okay now – we are allowed to mention Twickenham.

For weeks talk of a trip to English rugby’s headquarters had been frowned upon by those at Stewarts & Lloyds.

Cup matches still needed to be won and promotion was still a target.

Now, however, with their RFU Senior Vase semi-final taking place this weekend, the focus is allowed to be on securing a dream day in west London.

“We’ve definitely been talking about it this week,” admitted S&L manager Gary Mitchell.

“Around the town people are asking about it and it has been a bit of a funny week.

“We have been getting more attention and there have been different things to deal with.

“The RFU have been sending out invites and, if we win, we’ve been told two people have to go to Twickenham next Tuesday for a pre-meeting to sort things out.

“The players have almost got celebrity status among the juniors at the club at the moment, which is quite amusing.

“And we’ve had great support from other clubs in the East Midlands.

“They have been sending us good luck messages, which is really nice, as we are representing the East Midlands and the Midlands now.

“It’s also a bit strange. On a national level we haven’t got anywhere yet.

“The Midlands final was our focus before and keeping up our league form. Twickenham seemed quite a long way away.

“Many teams have been to a semi-final and lost and they aren’t remembered.

“If we fall, yes it will still be a great season because we won the Midlands cup and are in the hunt for promotion, but we won’t have got anywhere nationally really.”

So to the job in hand.

S&L’s opponents are Yarnbury – a side who play near Horsforth which is just north of Leeds – who currently sit third in Yorkshire Division Two with their promotion fate firmly in their own hands.

“We’ll be going there as underdogs,” Mitchell admitted.

“We have had them watched and we’re expecting a hard, physical game.

“They are a good club with four teams and a Vets side and they are looking at promotion.

“But Kev (Manson, first-team coach) who went to see them came away with the view that if we turn up and play as we can then we have a good chance.

“It is a massive game. We know that.

“It is a chance in a lifetime opportunity.

“I think now the players just want to get on with it.

“Whatever happens we’ll have a good day. We’re taking about 200 supporters and there will be a ‘Black Wave’, as our captain Gareth (Lewis) calls them, going up the motorway.

“The club will be shut for the day and everyone will be there.”

There is the prospect of another cause for celebration to come as well.

Vipers’ narrow 21-18 victory over Biggleswade last weekend means S&L’s promotion destiny remains in their own control.

“We were quite worried Vipers might win more comfortably and that would rule us out of promotion,” Mitchell added.

“We know we need bonus-point wins from our last two games and we’ll go up.

“We play Queens at home and Rugby St Andrews away, if we can’t do it from those we don’t deserve to go up anyway.

“We maybe should have gone for more bonus points earlier in the season but the focus was winning games.

“It is a lesson learned and one we need to take with us for next season.”

It is a lesson for another day, however.

The focus now is on winning one game and sealing that dream day out.