Earlier this year my not so little boy started rugby and has loved it ever since. Rugby suits his energy, his strength and he loves the fun aspect of it too.
A couple of months ago I had a very proud mum moment when my son was awarded the club’s Most Improved Player of the Year trophy!
He belongs to Ashley Down Juniors, a local community rugby club in Lockleaze for children aged 3 – 11 which is held on Sunday mornings and is actively seeking new members.
The club was launched in May last year by local man, James Hall, and since then the club has gone from strength to strength and already has 75 players aged between 3 – 10 years old.
James himself began playing rugby as a child but unfortunately in recent years he was forced to retire from the game due to a neck injury.
However, James used this misfortune as an opportunity to start Ashley Down Juniors:
“It has always been a dream of mine to give something back to this amazing club which has been a massive part of my life. I began my playing days here at Ashley Down Rugby Club at the age of 12 and have met some truly inspirational people here.
“Unfortunately, I had to retire from the game due to my injury and so this gave me the opportunity to plan to start the youth section going. I knew that the facilities we about to improve and with Cheswick Village appearing on our doorstep, it was perfect timing.”
James explains how rugby benefits children and young people:
“Rugby encourages teamwork, respect, discipline, sportsmanship whilst being enjoyable and very active. We want to make a difference to young people’s lives, help them to grow as individuals and become inspirational role models in the future.”
The club has recently been part of a multimillion pound investment which includes a new all-weather pitch, adding to the club’s original grass pitch.
“The new all-weather pitch will attract new members as it’s the latest craze at the moment. Once the ground is complete, we will aim to use the grass pitches wherever possible, as we are grass-roots through and through. Getting muddy is what rugby is all about!”
The original club house remains however, which James is happy about as this is what the members calls ‘home’.
The club is a strong community within itself and James has told me that he could not run the club without the support and commitment of the team of volunteers who help him.
James’ short term aims for Ashley Down Juniors includes starting an under 11’s this season to build on the existing teams that the club already has.
His long-term aims involve running 3 senior sides, a ladies team and a junior section covering the whole age rang.: “In 2021, the club will be 100 years old and I hope some of the aims to be achieved by then.”
James lives and loves rugby:
“Rugby is my second wife! I truly believe that I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t have rugby. I have friends that will stick with me for a lifetime and have loads of amazing memories. I look forward to making many more in the years ahead.”
A new season of Ashley Down Juniors is due to start this Sunday 3rd September at 10.15am and young new recruits are needed!
So, if you have a daughter or a son aged between 3 – 11, do contact James by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also find out more by visiting the club’s website: http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/ashleydownoldboys.