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LGBTQ+ rugby club wins 'life-changing' trophy

A rugby team has won its first piece of silverware in what one player described as a "life-changing" moment.

The Colchester Kings secured the Challenger Vase at the Bingham Cup in Rome.

The club was founded in 2022 and is thought to be the only rugby union side in East Anglia focused on providing an inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ people.

Ras Ahmed, 38, a Colchester Kings forward, said the whole team was immensely proud of its achievement.

"I think for everyone who attended, regardless of which country or where they came from, it was life changing," he told BBC Essex.

"Yes there were tackles and yes there were rucks, but I know that every single person on my team had my back and that's exactly how I feel from day one."

About 100 LGBTQ+ inclusive clubs from across the world took part in the Bingham Cup, which included team's from Spain, North America, France and Scotland.

The tournament was named after Mark Bingham – an openly gay rugby player who fought hijackers on board United Airlines Flight 93 which crashed during the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

Sam Biscoe, 37, who founded the Colchester Kings, said he had competed in the Bingham Cup before with another team and wanted his players to experience the atmosphere.

"We've always played for each other, but that tournament more than any time we held each other up and kept going," he said.

"Next year we'll be on the European version of the tournament in Oslo, hopefully, and we'll be going from strength to strength, so with any luck and we'll come back with an even bigger cup."

Colchester Kings will be holding a taster session on 30 June for new members and its pre-season campaign gets underway in August.

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