Newport Salop Rugby Football Club

PUBLISHED: 21:01 07 February 2010 | UPDATED: 15:58 20 February 2013

Newport Salop R.U.F.C

Newport Salop R.U.F.C

Newport Salop Rugby Football Club is the most successful in the county, but there's a lot more to it than just the game. Rachel Crow spoke to some of those for whom the club is a way of life.

Newport Salop Rugby Football Club is the most successful in the county, but there's a lot more to it than just the game. Rachel Crow spoke to some of those for whom the club is a way of life.


"It's quite an achievement really," notes Gareth Davies, First Team Manager of Newport Salop R.U.F.C. "Sleepy little market town, playing the likes of Chester, Peterborough, Kenilworth, all big and reputable towns in the country and competing in the same league."


Now the highest placed Shropshire league side in the Midlands regions, playing in Midlands 1 League, the club has been going since 1947. Since those early days, without its own pitches and a converted warehouse on Water Lane serving as the Club Room, it has gradually grown in size and stature, welcoming generations of families who rise through its ranks and in 1981 moving to its current Showground site on Forton Road.


"If you've played the game for a number of years and not moved away then the club becomes almost like a second home really, you just want to see that carry on," says Club Chairman, David Stiles. Like many at the club, David has been involved with it for years, devoting his weekends throughout the season to club activities, for the last three acting as chairman.


He played his first game for the club in 1975, aged 21 and has since held "just about every post there is over the years. We have got a lot of father and son generations playing for the team. Both my sons play for the club and there are many others like that." For some it is three generations, the case for current President, Andrew Watson Jones, whose father and sons having played for the team. But it's not just the men and boys on the pitch: it's very much a family affair with wives, girlfriends and sisters all involved, some working tirelessly at weekends to keep players fed and watered.


For Rugby at Newport is as much about the social side as the game itself. While the 1st XV and 2nd XV are the "serious end of the game," they have a good social team playing at 3rd level, as well as Touch Rugby, the Colts, with every age group from under sevens to under 17s and about 200 vice presidents (ex-players).


"We are seen as a tough club to play, but we certainly enjoy ourselves after the game," says David. "It is a fantastic club and very, very friendly. We


desperately need to develop the Club House, although a lot of clubs come to us who have modern facilities and stand in it afterwards, shoulder to shoulder when you can't swing a cat and they say 'we don't get anything like this atmosphere in our club, don't change it. There is a real buzz.' "


A good league home game on a Saturday afternoon will attract anything between 100 to 500 spectators. "For amateur rugby, albeit at a good level, that is fantastic," says Gareth Davies. Gareth has been involved with Newport since he was aged eight, playing for the juniors, many of whom like


him will end up in the 1st XV. With members and players hailing from all backgrounds: farmers, businessmen, lawyers and accountants, they have many skills to draw on when it comes to running the club.


"It is due to the hard work and commitment of people preparing to commit themselves for no reward that we take the club forward," adds Gareth. "I enjoy putting in my efforts with the guys and helping to train and coordinate and when you've had a successful season like we've had, you can sit back with a bit of pride."


Funding is thanks to numerous individual sponsors and with the club committee running like an efficient business, with a defined management structure it is financially stable despite the current economic climate. David largely puts this down to the efforts of David Flanagan, Finance Chairman and his predecessor for 13 years, who "is more or less single-handedly responsible for handing over to me a club that is in fantastic financial order."


With the social scene crucial to both the appeal and finances of the club, there are hopes to open the Club House Thursday through to Sunday and so the fortunes and success of Newport look set to continue to rise. "When the club has given you so much enjoyment and entertainment over the years, some people want to give something back," says David. "I have to say the most memorable day was winning the play-off against Matlock that got us out of Division Midlands 2 into Midlands 1. We decided we were going to put on a massive party at the club and had a marquee for 120 people for lunch. We were going to party, win or lose. There must have been 1000 people turn out to watch. Matlock said to us afterwards, 'the minute we got off the coach we knew we'd lost because you lot were obviously going to celebrate.' "


And with that type of winning attitude, how can they lose?


For more details about Newport R.U.F.C visit


www.the scrummage.co.uk

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