A deaf Burnham-On-Sea Rugby Club player experienced a ‘hugely proud day’ when he starred in the England deaf team against Bulgaria at the weekend and scored his first international try.
Nick McKen, 33, was born without hearing, but doesn’t let that stop him from excelling at the game.
He scored the decisive try in England’s 38-25 win against the hosts in Sofia on his return to the team at the weekend despite 30-degree heat.
“It was my first try for England, so it was an amazing feeling and there was a brilliant atmosphere around the ground,” he told Burnham-On-Sea.com.
He explained that being deaf does have its challenges in playing the game: “I don’t hear the ref or players near me, so I rely on my eyes to watch the game and react to to each situation efficiently and quickly as possible.”
“It’s a great sport that promotes enjoyment, respect, teamwork, discipline and fitness.”
He said it was an “amazing feeling” to be picked for the England team, even after earning his ninth cap.
“I have played since I was 18 and have lost count of how many games I’ve played for Burnham. If I have to guess it’s between 200-300.”
“The highlight, though, was last Saturday scoring a try against the international team Bulgaria which is a cornerstone of England Deaf Rugby Union because we normally play against other nation deaf teams but this is the first non-deaf international team we have played against. Also that was my first try for England and I was so proud of that.”
“We were behind the scoreline until the last five minutes where our resilience and determination finally paid off and broke their defence several times to secure a fantastic win on an incredible hot day.”
Nick will be back in action for Burnham this weekend as the club travel to Somerset Premier leaders Avon. He also runs the club’s Under-7s section and is keen to try and encourage more youngsters into the sport.