ALMOST 10 years have passed since Jonathan Simpson, as the winning captain, lifted the EDF Energy Senior Vase at Twickenham.

Northwich beat Bradford Salem 18-13 in the sunshine at the home of English rugby to get their hands on a second trophy in what would be a historic treble-winning campaign.

He still remembers the fine details: from the team bus breaking down en route to the capital to looking up at the stadium clock as full-time approached and willing the referee to blow his whistle.

It wouldn’t matter even if he couldn’t recall what happened.

“It never really goes away,” he said.

“Even now, when I’m introduced to somebody new at the club it’s as ‘the guy who skippered that side.’

“I can’t complain, I suppose, but I do remind them I did play a few other games as well!”

He will be at Moss Farm on Saturday, along with many of the players that were on the field with him at Headquarters in 2007, for a reunion arranged specifically to honour their remarkable achievement.

At least a dozen of the squad are expected; however a couple of them – second-rowers Chris Heywood and Rick Smith – are likely to be on duty for the first-team against Blackburn on an adjacent pitch.

Simpson said: “I’m still in touch with a good number of the lads, but it’s not just them I’m looking forward to seeing.

“There were a number of people that supported us along the way, and I think it’s important to recognise their contribution as well.

“It doesn’t always sink in at the time that you’ve achieved something unique, and it probably wasn’t until we had a civic reception a couple of weeks after the final that it really hammered home what we’d done.

“It was a great day, and as captain it’s one I’ll never forget.

“Getting to Twickenham was an achievement, but we wanted to make sure we finished the job by bringing the cup back.”