Fourteen years of training and development at the club pays off….
Born in November 2003 Jacob Garrett was always destined to play rugby, for most of his childhood his father Mark had convinced him he was born the day England won the World Cup. Unfortunately, a quick check on Google busted the myth, but it did enough to get him started on his long rugby journey with Harrogate.
Jacob started at Harrogate RUFC at the age of five, He needed special permission to join the U7s and since then has been part of the club for almost 13 years. He started well enough in tag rugby, but quickly became bored with the lack of physicality. The last half of his time in the Under 8s was a challenge for his coaches, as he developed a more robust style of getting hold of tags and putting players into touch. After finishing that season with a now legendary tour to Driffield, Jacob couldn’t wait to get stuck into contact with the Under 9s.
New rules of play designed to expose children to the complexities of the game for the over 9s meant that the players and coaches had to condense all the laws of the game into a 15-minute briefing before the start of the Moortown Festival. Jacob keenly absorbed every word, taking on the role of hooker – a position he has played ever since. It was on this day he also received the nickname of “The Beast” and picked up his first yellow card… While Jacob’s discipline may not have improved, his ability to hide it from the referee certainly has!
The introduction of contact rugby changed everything. Jacob became a crucial part of an age group blessed with phenomenal talent. At Harrogate, Jacob was one part of the largest cohort of England Rugby Development Player Program players to enter from a single club. At the age of 13 he continued to develop into one of the best hookers in Yorkshire.
At 15 he got his first chance to play representative rugby for Yorkshire, and at 16 he entered the Leeds Carnegie Academy Program. Unfortunately, following the administration of Carnegie and the covid pandemic, the reduced numbers within the Academy cost him his place. However, he managed to regain his place in the Yorkshire Under 18s team in 2021.
Jacob’s time playing rugby hasn’t been without its challenges. After suffering a significant concussion in 2018 he was forced to sit out from both schoolwork and club games for several months, and had very sadly to overcome a stammer brought on by the injury. His committed style of play also caused a serious ankle injury a year later, further impacting his progression through the development pathway.
David Doherty, Director of Rugby at Harrogate RU:
Jacob has an incredible talent. His tireless commitment over the years, drudging through mud, rain, sleet and snow, to polish his strength and skills is outstanding. As a club, we also have to pay tribute to Jacob’s parents Jenny & Mark who have for 14 years, jumped out of a warm bed, early on a Sunday morning to make this achievement happen. Their investment has paid off and they should be very proud and congratulated!
The values he has learned at Harrogate Rugby Club have definitely contributed to his committed involvement in the wider community. As a deputy head student at Harrogate Grammar School and a student teacher at Knaresborough Speech and Drama, his desire to give back the opportunities and experiences he has had, is clear for everyone to see.
The fact that he played his first team debut at Luctonians, after a five-hour coach journey, being forced onto the pitch after ten minutes as a yellow card replacement, sums up his time at Harrogate Rugby Club.
Just as when he was just eight years old – when the time comes to stand up and be counted, you will always find Jacob Garrett at the front of the line! Watch this space.