Double centurion Alex Tait has been awarded a testimonial season after more than a decade at Newcastle Falcons.
The versatile back sits seventh in the Falcons’ list of all-time appearances on a total of 232, scoring a hat-trick on his debut back in 2008 and going on to become a first team regular.
Tait’s testimonial will run from September 2019 until August 2020, with a number of events to be announced throughout the year in honour of the academy graduate who was born and raised in County Durham.
The Testimonial will support three charities, Alzheimer’s Society, Restart Rugby and Children North East, who run 34 support services for babies, children, young people and their families around the region including mental health counselling, help for families affected by domestic abuse and, through its poverty proofing the school day initiative, the charity helps create a 'level playing field' for pupils across the UK.
Tait first featured for the Falcons in A-League action in 2008 while still a pupil at Barnard Castle School, going on to help Newcastle win the Langholm 7s before making his first team bow the following season with a hat-trick in a European Challenge Cup win at Spanish side Cetransa El Salvador.
Playing predominantly at full-back and wing but also featuring in the centres, Tait’s time at the Falcons has seen him winning the Premiership 7s and Championship title as well as starting in the Anglo-Welsh Cup final and making 154 Premiership appearances, of which 139 were starts.
Playing a further 36 times in European competition for the Falcons, the 30-year-old said: “It’s a real honour to be awarded a testimonial year by the club I used to come and watch when I was a kid.
“Before the West Stand had even been built and there was just a temporary stand on that side of the ground my dad used to bring me and my brother down to watch games during the era of Inga Tuigamala and those kinds of guys.
“Tony Underwood came to visit my school when I was in Year 5 and he was playing for the Falcons, and I remember being totally star-struck, so to go on and play more than 200 games for the club is pretty surreal when I think about it.”
Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards said: “Alex really epitomises what Newcastle Falcons is about, he has contributed a huge amount to the club and it is absolutely fitting that he will have this testimonial season to look forward to.
“He is a very hard-working player who performs at a consistently high level and is always thinking about the team, and I am sure his calendar of events throughout the year will be very well supported.”
Details of those events will be communicated in due course, but to make contact with the organising committee please email firstname.lastname@example.org .