Bedford Blues have announced that the 2014/15 Championship season will be a testimonial one for fullback James Pritchard.
The coming campaign will be Pritchard’s 11th at Goldington Road and the year ahead holds some very special events to commemorate his loyalty to Bedford Blues.
Speaking about his testimonial season, Pritchard said: “I am truly humbled to have been offered a testimonial by the board at Goldington Road and I’m thoroughly looking forward to the year ahead.
“We have some fantastic events lined up and hopefully I’ll be able to cap my testimonial season by being called up to the Canada Rugby World Cup squad.
“Bedford Blues is a wonderful club to be part of and to play for. It also has some of the most fanatical followers I have ever known and it is always a delight to see so many friendly faces whether it be at Goldington Road or in the far flung destinations such as Penzance, Dublin, Belfast or Stirling.”
Pritchard’s testimonial year will kick off with Black Tie dinner in the Goldington Road Marquee on Friday, October 10 with James choosing the NSPCC as his partnered charity for the year ahead, as he continued: “The NSPCC carry out fantastic work across the UK to end cruelty to children and I cannot think of a more worthwhile cause to support throughout the season.”
Bedford Blues Chairman Geoff Irvine said: “James has been a terrific servant to Bedford Blues both on and off the field over the years and the board were unanimous in their decision to offer him a testimonial this season.
“I’m sure that all of our fans will take the opportunity to support Pritch and his chosen charity over the coming 12 months.”
Blues Director of Rugby Mike Rayer also added: “Pritch has been an integral cog in the Bedford Blues machine throughout his tenure with the club and he thoroughly deserves this testimonial.
“His work ethic and commitment to Bedford Blues is second to none and he continues to be shining example to young players of how to be a professional rugby player.
“It is only right that Pritch joins the likes of Junior Paramore, James Hinkins, Ben Whetstone and Sacha Harding in being honoured in such a way. It is a big year for James both on and off the pitch and I’m sure everyone else will be looking forward to it as much as he is.”
Originally from Parkes in Australia, Pritchard started his sporting career in Rugby League before switching codes, and continents, to join Bedford Blues in 2001. After his mini tour around the UK and France, Pritch returned to Bedford in 2006 and has made the town his home.
Pritchard’s successes on the field are clear for all to see and last season he overtook Andy Finnie as the Blues all-time leading point scorer. This achievement was coupled with the international equivalent when he surpassed Gareth Rees’s record of 491 to become Canada’s leading point scorer. Pritchard will also be looking to secure his place in the Canada squad for next year’s Rugby World Cup which would be his fourth.
The full details of events and sponsorship opportunities for Pritchard’s Testimonial season will be available soon.