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A Pirates Welcome to ‘Groundhopper’ Gijs

Posted: March 7, 2022
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A Pirates Welcome to ‘Groundhopper’ Gijs

Avid groundhopper Gijs van de Poel, who is undertaking a mammoth walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats in support of Street Soccer Scotland, was a welcome guest when the Cornish Pirates recently played Jersey Reds at the Mennaye Field.

Accompanied by his brother Joris, Gijs (pronounced Case!) travelled from his home in Utrecht and started his walk during the weekend, firstly from Land’s End to St. Just and then on to Penzance.

Gijs has coached and played as a lock forward with the Utrecht rugby club in the Netherlands, and when made aware of his challenge the Cornish Pirates were keen for him to experience the match action and atmosphere of a high level Championship fixture. He greatly appreciated the gesture and thoroughly enjoyed his visit, afterwards commenting:

I would like to thank everyone at the Cornish Pirates for enabling me to watch what was an amazing game of rugby. There was a really impressive atmosphere about the club and ground, and along with my brother Joris we experienced a level of hospitality I didn’t even know existed. What a day – I was spoiled beyond repair!”

As his walk takes him north, Gijs plans to visit a number of sports grounds, with an aim to engage with different supporters’ groups and partners en route. He has also commented:

“I have always been a fan of groundhopping, in Scotland, England, Scandinavia and Germany. My partner is from Milton Keynes and has ancestry from Scotland, so hill-walks and hikes in the UK have always been a hobby of ours. I decided to tie these two passions together and create ‘LE-JOG’”

There has been a lot for experienced groundhopper and hill-walker Gijs to organise, as he aims to take in around 25 games on his journey north in support of Street Soccer.

‘LE-JOG’ will culminate in a charity football match in John O’Groats in late June against John O’Groats FC. This will be in aid of Street Soccer Scotland, with auction prizes available from each of the clubs Gijs visits available for bidding on the day.

Also, at the end, Gijs will be writing a book to record his memorable experiences, which all but started with a greatly appreciated one at the Mennaye Field.

Anyone wanting to join The Rambling Groundhopper on his journey, you can view his route here.

Also, to view all Gijs’ links – follow here.