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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. 

 

End of Season Awards

2015 Middlesex Rugby VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION AWARDS

http://www.middlesexrugby.com/communityrugby/VolunteerAwards2015/

The 2015 annual Community Rugby Volunteer Appreciation took on Friday 26th June at London Welsh RFC.

The Volunteer Appreciation Awards are the County’s way of recognising the hard work our volunteers do throughout the season to keep clubs running and rewarding those key individuals for their hard work. The dinner also gives clubs and volunteer co-ordinators the opportunity to network and share ideas with others.

President’s VII Awards

The President’s VII awards recognise clubs who have contributed to the development of the game of rugby. Awards were presented in the following categories:

Expanding and Developing the Game: The Club has done most in working on recruitment to grow their playing strength during the season.

Winner: Belsize Park
This club has recruited 211 new players over the course of the season. Although not all have stayed the club has been able to field six teams this season. They have done a large amount of work to strengthen links with local universities. Their hard work in recruiting was rewarded on the pitch with the 1st XV finishing second in the league, the 2nd and 4th XVs winning their leagues, the 3rd XV doing the double and the 5th XV and Vets fulfilling a full calendar of fixtures.

 

2015 – Belsize Park Club Awards

It was an amazing season that saw the 1st XV finishing second in the league, the 2nd and 4th XVs winning their leagues, the 3rd XV doing the double and the 5th XV and Vets fulfilling a full calendar of fixtures.

The 2015-2016 season will be tougher as we aim to do better as a club and keep building on the momentum from last season.Huge congratulations goes out to all players who donned the heliotrope this season and especially the following players who have had a great season and earned the respect of their teammates.

1st XV PoY Chris Dan
2nd XV PoY Phil Blackler
3rd XV PoY Dave Schalit
4th XV PoY James Hardy
Bulls PoY Jamie Moore
Kiwi Bell Miguel Martinez
Most Improved Player Michael Downes
Newcomer Stefano Pozzebon
Overseas POY George Hazlett
Clubman of the year Steven ‘Bilbo’ Joseph

Belsize Park have been waiting for Fullerians title showdown for a while

Belsize Park captain Tom House admits his squad have been eyeing Saturday’s crucial top-of-the-table clash for a while, and he is confident of coming out on top.

Belsize secured their second promotion in three years last term, and they are now looking to move up from London North-West Division Three in the coming weeks.

House’s side sit second with three games to go, just four points behind Fullerians, and this weekend they host the leaders in a showdown which could decide who moves up the pyramid.

Belsize, who are unbeaten on their own turf in Regent’s Park since September 2013, have won seven games in a row and another victory could take them into top spot – which is the only place guaranteed to provide promotion.

Second place may well be enough, as it was last season, but a defeat on Saturday could open the door for third-placed Welwyn to overtake them and leave BP outside the top two.

“It’s absolutely massive, there’s no doubt about that in our minds,” House told Ham&High Sport. “We’re on a good run though, we’ve won every game since the new year and we can’t wait to get out there to be honest.

“I think our eyes have probably been on this for a little bit too long, hence the slightly closer results than we might have anticipated –like the one against Wasps in our last game.

“We kind of knew that we had to win everything up to this point to ensure that it mattered, but then as the momentum started to build and we beat Welwyn and then Datchworth a few weeks ago, we’ve really started to think about this big one.

“There’s everything to play for. We need to win with a bonus point and deny them a bonus point to go top, so it’s very exciting.”

A narrow victory would take Belsize level on points with Fullerians, but still leave them second. They need to score four tries to get the bonus fifth point, while also beating their rivals by at least eight points to deny their visitors a losing bonus point and overhaul them.

However, House is aware that an overly ambitious, gung-ho approach could backfire.

“Absolutely, and the boys won’t need any encouragement to get up for the game,” said the skipper. “If anything my job will be to keep them composed, keep them calm and keep them focused on doing what they’ve done so well all season.

“It will be about us playing our best game and sticking to our game plan and keeping it nice and straightforward.

“We’ve got some real fliers in our back line who can score from anywhere on the pitch, and they’ve been brilliant all season, so we’re not worried about not being able to score tries or anything like that. It’s not really been an issue.

“We haven’t really thought about the prospect of losing either, or what the implications of that would be. We try to only have positive thoughts.

“The games that we’ve lost, looking back, were times when we were maybe fielding slightly weaker sides, because of injuries or people travelling or having to work.

“But we’ve got a full-strength squad to pick from on Saturday – apart from my brother Freddie, who has unfortunately been injured for most of the year – so we can’t wait for it.”

Fullerians won the previous meeting between the sides in

December, but that was a narrow 24-21 victory on their home turf, and House is confident Belsize Park can gain revenge on their own ground this weekend.

“We felt we should have beaten them last time,” he said. “We missed three kickable penalties, we put a lot of pressure on them and we were hammering at their 22 but we couldn’t quite get into it.

“They kept conceding penalties at the breakdown but the referee wouldn’t send anyone off because it wasn’t in the 22, which seemed a bit arbitrary at the time.

“They’ve got a big set of forwards, they’re very organised, and they’re skilful at the breakdown. But we’ll have Sam Bennett back, who’s our master at the breakdown, and Alex Lee, who wins turnover after turnover.

“I don’t think either of those played the last time we played them so we’ll fancy our chances – and our home record speaks for itself.”

 

Taken from the article on the Ham & High: http://www.hamhigh.co.uk/sport/rugby/belsize_park_captain_admits_we_ve_been_waiting_for_fullerians_title_showdown_for_a_while_1_3999585