Trojans Rugby Club
Trojans Rugby Club is a fantastic example of the important role that a club can play in its local community. Rugby Club Magazine recently caught up with their Secretary Lee Forster to find out more about the good work they have been doing lately.
He told us, “I joined Trojans twenty one years ago when I moved to the area for work. I just looked for the local teams and went for the one that was easiest to get to. I had been playing for some years in London and just wanted to carry on playing.
Just like in life generally the most challenging moments are when things go wrong, either on or off the pitch and, for me the most rewarding are when you take those things and make them right. I’m a positive person so always aim to improve things and being part of the committee allows me to have input in deciding the future direction that the club goes in. Of course, the main aim is to make it better in every way.”
“On the pitch things are going fairly well, although with a club of our size there is never one specific subject that we can concentrate on. With nearly 500 juniors playing on a Sunday, two ladies teams and three men’s teams inevitably not all will be going well at the same time. That said, many teams are doing well.
The mood (and the workload) are buoyed by some exciting potential developments off the field which, if they come to fruition will benefit the club for many years to come. By the end of the season we will know much more about these.”
“The men’s 1st XV have started the season well. They have exceeded targets set so far for league points and are sitting at 4th in the league, despite having a significant number of injuries. The other men’s teams are not doing so well and, in common with all of the local clubs, we could do with more players in order to fulfil all of the lower team fixtures.
The Ladies teams are not doing as well as last season but are nonetheless winning plenty of games. The youth section is always very strong and we are providing a quantity of players to the Hampshire County XVs at a number of different age groups, both male and female. It is always pleasing to see young players do so well.”
“Once a season gets under way most of our work is normally done. Players and coaching staff are in place and it mainly becomes a case of managing the finances and making sure that we can follow the plans that were set pre-season.
This season is different as the upcoming possibilities for things off the pitch are taking a lot of managing. If we get to the end of the season and can say that our off-field plans have come to fruition we will be very happy indeed.”
“Youth rugby is vital for any club. Not only does it fulfil the need to be providing the community with sports opportunities for the young but also provides a significant income stream. With nearly 500 players in our youth section, plus the coaches, parents etc. Sunday mornings are the busiest by far at our club.
Talking of the young players, we were incredibly proud that our Academy and Under 16s were chosen to represent Hampshire at the unveiling of the Rugby Memorial in France in September. With only two other clubs from the UK providing youngsters at the event this was a truly special occasion for our boys.
They were impeccably behaved and came back with some wonderful memories and an appreciation for the events of 100 years ago. This was also the culmination of the Help for Heroes bike ride and included representatives from French and English national sides as well as Army teams and the unveiling itself of the memorial, which was designed by former French International Jean-Pierre Rives.”
“Integrating players into the senior game is a challenge for all clubs. With many younger players going off to University and a large proportion essentially not returning, having got jobs in other parts of the country, we are lucky to have even a few transition into senior Rugby at our club.
We try to balance this by having an arrangement with local universities and this is, in itself, a challenge. We do manage to get some of the Academy to play senior Rugby before they go off to University but even that is difficult as our Academy has historically been strong and done very well in both local and national competitions. With that kind of success at Academy level it can be difficult to tempt them into Senior Rugby.”
“We are very definitely a community club. Simply by having such a large quantity of youngsters, male and female, experiencing the joys and the culture of sportsmanship that Rugby brings just has to be beneficial not only to them but also others they come into contact with at School and elsewhere.
We are a totally Amateur club and the whole ethos around the club is one of taking pride in our club, our players and our teams at whatever level. Within social media we have taken to using #proudtobeatrojan as our rallying cry.”
“I think the biggest challenge will be keeping the lower Senior sides going. Locally many clubs struggle with numbers in the lower sides and the problem seems to be getting steadily worse with, some weeks, five out of six matches cancelled or postponed in the lower merit tables.
Like many other clubs our lower teams wouldn’t exist without the dedication of some of our elder statesmen, turning out week after week (as an aside a few weeks ago our third team played with a front row – yes just the three – whose ages added up to 171! And we won the game). When that generation finally retires I fear there will be a major hiatus.
By and large our ambition is to do more of the same. We want to keep our teams at the level they are at or higher (definitely not lower!) and to continue to provide Sunday morning rugby for as many young people as we can fit in the space we have. We do hope to have more space in the next few years so I suppose we want to fill that too.”