The World Record Attempt
At the end of July, 2015, Southport Rugby Club set out to break the World Record for the longest game of rugby ever played and I was going to photograph the event.
The purpose of this was to raise money to buy a Physio Vest for the daughter of one of the players. She has cystic fibrosis and one of these vests costs £12,000. The players were confident that they could raise this money via sponsorship. They decided that any surplus would go towards Alder Hey Childrens Hospital in Liverpool.
The players trained for three months in preparation for the record attempt. The then World Record was just under 26 hours.
On the 31st of July, two squads of 23 players each, lined up at 3.00 pm to start the match.
They played full-on competitive rugby at a pace which nobody believed they could keep up for long – but they did. By the evening, over 800 spectators turned up to cheer the players on.
The following morning, I half expected to return to an empty pitch, as both teams needed to have at least 15 players at all times and injuries had been taking their toll. Two of the players carried on, despite having broken toes and one player even carried on with a broken leg.
But the two teams were still playing, despite the pain and exhaustion all the players felt.
The spectators came back and carried on cheering the players, who carried on playing full-on rugby until they reached their target. When they finished, they had played rugby for 26 hours, 36 minutes and 2 seconds. At the time of writing, this record has still to be ratified by The Guinness Book of World Records, but everyone at Southport RFC knows the boys did it and, in the process raised £28,000 for the Physio Vest and Alder Hey Childrens Hospital.
I doubt if I will witness anything like again.
A slideshow of some of my photos can be seen at YouTube
All my photos from these two days can be seen here