First Game at Twickenham
Over the century and more since Twickenham first staged a competitive game there have been some incredible matches played: in 1913 England beat Scotland to win the grand slam for the first time; a Russian Prince playing for the home nation scored a famous try in 1936 to secure England’s first victory over New Zealand; and another home win in 2000 enabling England to take the first Six Nations to name but three of them. Other famous moments include in 1974 the first streaker there, whose photo with wedding tackle hidden behind a police helmet is part of our national folklore; likewise Erica Roe in 1982, though what she was showing off took rather more concealing; and the home crowd singing Swing Low Sweet Chariot to winger Chris Oti in 1988, saluting a hat-trick by – shamefully - only the second black player to represent England, and the first to do so at Twickenham – James Peters got his two caps before the ground was built.
The first game at the venue, however, was a rather less memorable affair, Harlequins beating Richmond 14 – 10 on the ground that for years was known, rather perversely given the land had formerly grown pears, as Billy Williams’ cabbage patch. Williams was an RFU committee member and the driving force behind the project of building a national rugby stadium. The 10.25 acre site was purchased for a little under £5600 in 1907; stands built in 1908, and then a further £20000 invested in building roads, turnstiles and so on before Twickenham was fit for purpose, though many changes would be made over the following years.
Today, having undergone major redevelopment in the 1990s and 2000s, Twickenham is a truly world class sporting arena.
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