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Dagenham man plays in world's longest rugby match

PUBLISHED: 17:02 02 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:04 02 September 2019

Wooden Spoon and School of Hard Knocks in the longest ever rugby union match. Picture: Stephen Wright

Wooden Spoon and School of Hard Knocks in the longest ever rugby union match. Picture: Stephen Wright

Stephen Wright

Could you play a 30-hour game of rugby?

Rugby player Jason Baker. Picture: Stephen WrightRugby player Jason Baker. Picture: Stephen Wright

That's the challenge one Dagenham man took on as part of a Guinness World Record bid that also aims to raise £100,000 for two charities.

Jason Baker took to the pitch at Hazelwood - home of the London Irish rugby team - for the marathon match.

The 27-year-old represented the Wooden Spoon team, taking its name from the charity which uses the sport to transform the lives of disabled and disadvantaged young people.

Their opponents were a team from School of Hard Knocks, another charity which uses sport to tackle unemployment, crime and poor health.

The teams played through the night. Picture: Stephen WrightThe teams played through the night. Picture: Stephen Wright

And the epic effort, which saw the players battle 33c heat over the August bank holiday weekend, finished 2,154 to 1,163 in School of Hard Knocks' favour.

The gruelling game, played under official rugby union laws, featured a total of 545 tries, 290 conversions and four drop goals - with volunteers regularly running on to supply the players with snacks, water and sun cream.

Jason, who plays his club rugby with Essex-based Writtle Wanderers, said: "The longest match was genuinely the hardest thing I've done in my life but I loved every second of it.

"I am so proud of the world record achievement and the thought that the funds will go towards helping disadvantaged and disabled children."

And if playing for 30 hours wasn't hard enough, Jason was even up against a Rugby World Cup winner in the shape of scrum half Andy Gomarsall, who was part of England's 2003 squad.

He said: "I don't think anyone could have foreseen temperatures of over 30°C, which were incredibly draining, as if playing rugby for 30 hours wasn't difficult enough!

"But the guys bonded throughout the experience and supported each other, drawing strength from what we were setting out to achieve and the great causes that any funds raised will go towards."

The previous world record for the longest game of rubgy union stood at 29 hours and 15 minutes, set last year by Scotty's Little Soldiers and the Firefighters Charity.

Jason Baker and the rest of the Wooden Spoon team. Picture: Stephen WrightJason Baker and the rest of the Wooden Spoon team. Picture: Stephen Wright

For more information about Wooden Spoon and to donate, visit woodenspoon.org.uk

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