Tag Archives: Belsize Touring

Belsize Park receive RFU Presidents Award for player recruitment

Stand in the middle of central London, Trafalgar Square to be precise, start walking north and the first rugby club you will come to is Belsize Park RFC.

Based in the heart of London amidst a population of over 8 million people you may expect Belsize Park to have always had an abundance of players available to them but that hasn’t always been the case.

“It’s always been a great club with a very strong spirit but up until the last five years or so we sort of kept it to ourselves and so we were always a relatively small club,” says club director of rugby Zach Webb.

“In the last few years we’ve taken player recruitment very seriously and have seen massive results.”

From 77 new recruits in their 2011/12 season, this year the club has seen an increase to 280 new players with 380 in total playing for one of their six sides.

TAPPING INTO LONDON’S POTENTIAL

After deciding to prioritise recruitment, the club began by targeting the thousands of people who move to the capital each year who had once played rugby but were now without a club.

“We encouraged every player to become a recruiter, to spread the club’s message by word of mouth,” says Webb. “When players join we try and create a home and a rugby lifestyle for them here. We give them a rugby club and also a family that accepts them in.”

As a result, Belsize Park has become one of the most diverse clubs in the world.

“We have players from Uganda, Chile, America, Canada, Australia, Uruguay, Argentina, France, Italy, Greece, Spain, South Africa and New Zealand to name a few as well as players from all over the UK. The next challenge comes in retaining them.”

CLUB CULTURE

Retaining hundreds of new players each season is a unique challenge and Belsize Park approach it in a unique way.

“We consider ourselves to be the most widely toured amateur team in the world,” says Webb. “Every year since 1989 we’ve gone on two tours and have now travelled most of the world as a club.”

From China to Barbados, Belsize Park continue to take a group overseas each year with the aim of developing a strong ethos.

Despite having only senior teams, the club also has a partnership with Regent’s Park Royals mini and junior rugby teams, offering coaches every week to help develop the sport.

CLIMBING THROUGH THE LEAGUES

All their efforts off the pitch seem to be paying off on it.

The club has secured eleven promotions across their four league sides since the 2011/12 season with their 1st XV winning promotion to London 2 North West this year.

“We gave ourselves the target of reaching London 3 and managed to do it a few years earlier than planned so the next plan is just to keep rising through the leagues and show that we can do it while remaining strictly amateur,” explains Webb.

In recognition of Belsize Parks’ extraordinary growth they were awarded the Player Recruitment award at the President’s Awards by RFU President Jason Leonard, a fitting accolade for a club leading the way in growing the sport.

Find out more about the RFU President’s Awards and all the winners here. 

 

Chairman’s Christmas Message

Men and Women of Belsize

There is one more weekend of rugby until the short mid season break for Christmas. At this time of year I usually send a message outlining our recent achievements, and highlighting how in the past months we have reached heights never previously dreamed of. This is no longer the case.

As you will all know, on the pitch our success continues, with all league teams doing very well and either leading or pushing for the top. As these are leagues we have never reached before this is superb, but instead of these being achievements that we never thought we could achieve, these are now things that we have come to expect. Our expectations have been raised again and again, and every victory in the past few years has been built upon to the point where we all wake in the morning expecting to win, not hoping.

The same is true off the pitch, both on the financial and social sides, where we are stronger than we have ever been.

This isn’t to suggest that there should be any room for complacency, as success on and off the pitch is the product of hard work. It simply means that we can all relax this Christmas, and enjoy a few drinks and a bit of cake, in the knowledge that the graft is paying off.

It also means that we can come back in the New Year, energised for the fight and ready to tackle the challenges that a club of our size, and current stature, face. The massive target we have painted on our backs is one. More hard work, and the confidence in our ability that it has engendered, means that this should be a small mountain to climb and that more laurels await us in April.

Let’s therefore do all we can to ensure that we get to have another massive club day in April to celebrate the effort that everyone has put in. A smaller group will then jet off to represent Belsize at the frontier of world class touring, as always. I believe there are some cricketers joining us in Barbados so not only the pride of our club but the pride of our sport will urge us to win that particular party.

Thank you all for the effort and dedication you have shown to Belsize in 2014. Have a happy Christmas and New Year.

Belsize Invicta

Murphy