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Rugby club fights back from the brink with 50 new members

PUBLISHED: 16:18 21 February 2020 | UPDATED: 17:08 21 February 2020

Fakenham Rugby youth Chairman, Rob Howlett and Director of Rugby, Rob Ward Picture: Archant

Fakenham Rugby youth Chairman, Rob Howlett and Director of Rugby, Rob Ward Picture: Archant

Archant

A rugby club chairman says there is no time to rest on its laurels after a surge in members.

Fakenham Rugby Club's logo. Picture: ArchantFakenham Rugby Club's logo. Picture: Archant

Fakenham rugby club has seen its number of youth members increase five-times over. But rather than congratulating themselves, they want to push on.

Rob Howlett, 39, Youth Chairman at the club said: "I don't think we pat ourselves on the back ever because there's always something else.

"It's not just getting those first 50 kids for the first few weeks and resting on the laurels. Once you get them it's keeping them engaged and keeping them here."

Last May, Mr Howlett, alongside Rob Ward, 43, director of rugby and some other parents were discussing membership and realised that due to the age group split, only two boys would be in the under-10 group.

Fakenham Rugby's Director of Rugby, Rob Ward Picture: ArchantFakenham Rugby's Director of Rugby, Rob Ward Picture: Archant

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With numbers dwindling, Mr Ward said: "It was a bit disheartening because there were only a handful of children up there. We were thinking about what can we do to get the numbers up and get them playing."

Mr Howlett alongside Mr Ward and the committee organised a fun day in September 2019 in order to promote the club and encourage new members.

They went in with the intention to cover the cost of the day and get ten new members. The following week they had 50.

Fakenham Rugby youth Chairman, Rob Howlett. Picture: ArchantFakenham Rugby youth Chairman, Rob Howlett. Picture: Archant

The new youth members will help to secure the club's future, Mr Ward said: "The juniors are the foundation of the club and there was nothing until this season for juniors to push through and build up the senior squad and keep the club going.

"If things had been left as it were, then the chances of the senior side continuing would have been quite low."

English rugby has been dominating the national conversation, with England making it to the World Cup final, and currently competing in the Six Nations. The rugby club hopes that this momentum will not be lost as they plan to keep the children on board.

Fakenham's youth has been without competitive fixtures but will be back in the Norfolk league next year. They will also be taking part in festivals and have even organised their first tour up in Scunthorpe to play teams from across the country.

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