From playing rugby at his local car boot to representing England at Twickenham… Trevor Davison lifts lid on his remarkable journey: ‘I only went down because mam’s friend had an ice cream van there!’
- Trevor Davison was capped by England for the first time against USA in summer
- The 29-year-old Newcastle Falcons prop was played for Blaydon up to his 20s
- Davison is aiming for another cap but goes about his business quietly
‘I feel like a right twit,’ mutters Trevor Davison in his quiet Geordie accent, as he leans against a broken fence post for a photograph in his parents’ garden.
Davison recently joined Declan Donnelly (of Ant and Dec) and Sting on the wall of fame just up the road at Saint Cuthbert’s High School, although the prop does not share their love for the spotlight.
‘I’ve never really done many interviews,’ he adds. ‘To be honest, stuff like this isn’t usually for me. I play rugby because I enjoy it.
Trevor Davison has made a stunning rise from Blaydon’s third team to the Premiership
‘I’d rather just play and let someone else get the attention. I’ll never be a big flash person with a big flash house. I do like a Hugo Boss T-shirt, though!’
He has remained true to his humble beginnings. He has just had an offer accepted on a house around the corner from where he grew up. Everyone in the Denton quarter of Newcastle knows the family name — there are 11 ginger siblings after all — but Davison has never veered too far from where it all began.
‘The reason I started playing is because mam’s friend used to have an ice cream truck down at Blaydon car boot,’ he says.
‘Mam loved a car boot and she took us down on Sunday mornings. They played rugby there and that’s the first time I got involved. Ice cream before and after. I ended up working there. Getting up at four in the morning to stand in the rain and collect people’s money on the gate!’
Davison signed up with his local club as a 12-year-old and stayed there until his early 20s. His rugby career has remained largely unwritten, rarely courting headlines, and Davison likes it that way.
The Newcastle Falcons prop appeared in England colours for their clash with USA this summer
He is only here doing an interview because his agent twisted his arm, keen for his client to accept the recognition he deserves for his rise from Blaydon’s third XV to a capped England international.
‘I liked playing for the third team back then because that’s where most of my friends were. Usually we were playing against old fat men. Guys who wanted to hold your face against the ground. You’d get the odd scrap but it was nowt serious and you’d be having a pint together the next minute.
‘Eventually I started playing for Blaydon first team… my big sister would give us 20 quid every game because she was proud. Micky Ward came over from the Falcons to help out with the coaching. If it wasn’t for Micky, I wouldn’t be here doing what I’m doing.
‘I played for England Counties but I was saving up to move to Australia. I’m a qualified joiner and my plan was to move there for a bit to work and play some rugby. I’d been saving up some cash for the trip by working for the local brewery.
‘Driving around in a van dropping kegs off at bars, Indian takeaways and workman’s clubs. It was when Dean Richards heard I was moving that he offered us my first contract with Newcastle.’
It proved to be Davison’s break and the 19st 9lb prop — who can play on both sides of the scrum — seized his shot at the big time.
Davison hasn’t gone too far from where it all began but still wants another England cap
The fire place in his parents’ living room is surrounded by photographs and trophies charting their son’s rise. Davison’s red England cap from the summer is the most recent addition. It represents a poignant moment of joy from a summer of grieving, after Davison’s mother, his most loyal supporter, passed away shortly before his call-up.
‘I was never expecting to play for England,’ he says. ‘I found out I’d been selected a day after me mam’s funeral, on the Wednesday. It was in my emails. I had to look at it twice. F**kin’ hell. I went and told dad and he said, “For all the bad times we’ve had, it’s about time we had a bit of good news”.
‘My family were over the moon. It was weird. Surreal. It was that soon after me mam’s funeral that my emotions were all over the place. I didn’t really think much of it until I got on to the pitch at Twickenham and I could feel all the emotions running through my body.
‘Mam was my biggest fan. She always made sure I had the best boots growing up. Always putting proud posts up on Facebook, which I hated! It was emotional knowing she won’t be able to watch us but I know she’d be proud.
‘It’s hard knowing that she’s been and gone and you get your bad days, but it does fuel you to improve. Now I know I’m capable of playing for England, I’d love to do it again.’
For now, his focus is on Newcastle starting their Premiership season against Harlequins. And Davison, the ordinary bloke who has had an unordinary rise, will continue to go about his business quietly but effectively.