- Sale Sharks hooker relives NatWest Schools Cup memories
- Tommy Taylor reached the last 16 with King's School Macclesfield
It’s a case of like father, grandfather, and great grandfather for Tommy Taylor, the Sale hooker, whose career started at King’s School, Macclesfield.
Taylor is the fourth generation of his family to be educated at the school and captained the first team who reached the last 16 of this national knock-out cup.
“It was a great experience,” he says about his years at King’s. “Everyone says to play rugby in a team with your mates at school is one of the best experiences you can have as a sports person.
“There’s nothing to beat it. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed my rugby more. I am now playing for Sale as a professional but it’s not quite the same fun.”
The 24-year-old keeps in touch at his old school and helped out in pre-match preparations for a game this autumn, against Cumbrian rivals Sedbergh, who had travelled down to Macclesfield for an annual match under lights at the town’s rugby club.
He explained: “it’s always good to go back and our family has very strong connections. I’m the fourth generation to have gone to the school and my dad’s brother also went to the school. And we all played hooker.”
Taylor’s role as captain ended in him leading the school on a successful tour to New Zealand, but he also has some very painful memories.
And one particular game in the national knockout competition for schools, which brings together teams from all over the country, stands out.
“We got through to the last 16 and earned a home game against RGS Newcastle,” Taylor said. “There was quite a bit of a build up because it was in the later stages and we were at home on a Wednesday afternoon.
“However, we could only draw 0-0 and lost out on the ‘away team’ rule which gave RGS Newcastle the tie.
“It was gutting because there was quite a crowd watching. To make it worse we missed a late drop goal to win the match and, I think, I dropped a pass which ended the match as we tried to set up another attacking position. I was gutted about that.”
Taylor missed out on representative rugby as a schoolboy and his rise to become a Sale regular has been one of slow progression.
After leaving King’s, he gained senior experience by mixing the Sale academy and playing for Macclesfield in the national leagues.
This earned him a chance at England Counties level – including an international against Spain – before he graduated to the Premiership.
He is now a regular for Sale and has also gained England honours by playing twice against the Barbarians in the end-of-season match.
“I’m enjoying playing for Sale and working hard. There is a lot of competition to play hooker for England, so any honour is a big plus,” he said.
Sale recently fielded eight players from the club’s academy in a Premiership match, and are proud of their home-grown contingent from the north-west.