The Making Of North Herts Crusaders Rugby League Club In Hertfordshire
North Herts Crusaders Rugby League Football Club was formed in Letchworth Garden City in Hertfordshire which is not exactly a hot bed of rugby league. The area has many rugby union clubs the like of Letchworth rugby union club itself, Stevenage Town , Hitchin, Royston and Datchworth Rugby Union Clubs, there was no rugby league side in the area. Rugby League generally being played in the summer months means there is no crossover so players can play both codes.
St Albans had a well established club The St Albans Centurions founded in 1996 and Hemel Hempstead has the Hemel Stags who have been around since the 1981 and till now these are the only clubs in the Hertfordshire area. Now there is a new kid on the block, North Herts Crusaders.
North Herts Crusaders RLFC was founded by Mick Johal, James Tirrell, Liam Corcoran and Robin French. The story was that James Tirrell who had made his name in rugby union representing Saracens, England under 20s and England 7s teams and now the Rugby development officer for Letchworth Garden City Rugby Union Club, was looking for ways to further increase participation in sports in North Herts. James suggested the idea to Mick Johal who instantly thought this is a great idea for giving players a way to keep fit and sharp during the summer period and he ran with the idea. Liam Corcoran and Robin French had a avid interest in rugby league and had often spoke about starting a team and thus were recruited onto the committee and a plan of action was put in place. North Herts Crusaders is a completely independent rugby league club with its own membership and sponsorships.
This was all going on in February 2012 and a meeting was arranged with The RFL and The North Herts Crusaders Rugby League Football Club was born with Letchworth Rugby Club as its home ground. The Crusaders were placed in the East Regional League – East along with St Ives Roosters, Bury Titans, Kings Lynn Black Knights, Bedford Tigers and Milton Keynes Wolves.
The Crusaders are now over half way through their league campaign, having shocked Bedford Tigers in there first ever game defeating them at their home 22-26. As of 7th July 2012 we have played 7 first team games and won 5 of them. In addition hey have fielded a second team on a number of occasions with their first ever game against Weald Warriors and running out winners by 84-30. Its looking very good for their first season.
North Herts Crusaders has been a huge success story they have registered over 50 players and have recruited a top coach in Colin Baker who comes with a lot of experience previously being a coach at Harlequins RL and London Broncos.
There is now plans to extend the membership by setting up junior teams so that a pipeline that feeds into open age rugby league with players that already know the game. The Crusaders are very lucky to have the support of Letchworth Rugby Union Club who are one of the areas top clubs with a huge number of players, which gives the crusaders access to a talented pool of players, who want to play rugby through the summer months. The membership of the Crusaders is not solely based on Letchworth Rugby Club however, they have registered players from a number of local rugby clubs with a split of around 50% letchworth and 50 % non Letchworth based players with players from rugby union clubs across Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.
The advantages to Letchworth Rugby Club are numerous but primarily the clubhouse will be in use all year round with added revenue to the bar and bringing new people to use the facilities who otherwise would never have done so. The advantage for the players is that they have been keeping fit and sharp in readiness for the Rugby Union season to start. This has the added benefit of having players that are match fit at preseason.
Players from different clubs are forging new friendships with players from different clubs and indeed from different sports as a number of their players are footballers who wanted to play competitive sport during the summer, hopefully these players will enjoy it so much they take up rugby league as there first sport.
The phenomenon of The North Herts Crusaders in Letchworth is is set to grow and grow already it has created much interest in both local press and the Rugby Football League itself. North Herts Crusaders have today over 2300 followers on twitter with the likes of Leeds Rhinos following them.
North Herts Crusaders are always looking for new players and coaches so if you want to be involved with Rugby League in Hertfordshire then there is only one club to choose that is the Crusaders. For Further information contact them through their website www.northhertscrusaders.com or email on firstname.lastname@example.org