Our sincerest congratulations to Exeter Chiefs on their outstanding victory in the European Champions Cup final yesterday.
This completes an historic double for the Devon club who become the first side in world rugby to win a league match at Wharfedale before going on to be European champions.
The match at Wharfedale was the “Clash of Champions”, the opening game of the 1996/97 season, our first season at Level 3, with both Dale and Exeter having been promoted as champions of the equivalent of National 2 North and South at the end of the 1995/96 season.
The Exeter side included current Director of Rugby Rob Baxter in the second row, up against Dennis Wood, with Andy Maunder, father of current Chiefs players Jack and Sam, facing off at 9 against Herbie Hancock. The Wharfedale side also included such club stalwarts as Andy Hodgson, Alex Howarth, Neil Heseltine, John Lawn, Ian Peel and Hedley Verity. Exeter were already on the march to the higher echelons, winning a second straight promotion with 25 wins out of 30.
Many congratulations to a club who have done it the right way and are an example to us all.