Get to know… Cieran Chester

#gettingtoknow series

First memory of rugby?

Running around a field in Germany throwing around a ball way too big for me

Debut for any club?

First game of rugby was for Colchester RFC

Bath Rugby League debut?

It was at Chippenham RFC but I couldn’t tell you who against.

Have your always wanted to be a rugby league player?

Only got into it at college but fell in love after the first training session.

What attracted you to play Rugby League/for the club?

I was drawn to the physical element, different to union and provides a completely different challenge.

What advice would you give to someone getting into rugby league?

Rub Vaseline on your elbows and knees, saves a lot of pain from grazes on the harder surfaces.

Favourite Bath Rugby League moment?

Seeing the boys win a league cup, showed all our hard work can lead to silverware.

What’s been your favourite memory in your career so far?

Representing West of England Rugby League.

Are you interested in any other sports?

I tend to watch most sports that are shown on tv and play what I can when I can.

Favourite food?

KFC

Least favourite food?

Coleslaw

Favourite hobbies?

Is a beer garden a hobby?

Favourite places to travel?

I like a nice city break in Europe.

If you were stuck on a desert island with one other Bath player who would it be?

Nooty (James Noott), he’d be useful to ward of sharks when I try to escape.

If you were stuck on a desert island which item would you choose to have?

A flat pack raft building kit

Get to know…Kieran Broomsgrove

#gettingtoknow series

First memory of rugby?
Going down Clifton RFC as a mini to watch my brother play (and buy sweets).

Debut for any club?
Barton Hill RFC in 2013

Bath Rugby League debut?
On a cold windy night against Bath Uni Dec ‘18, will never let Alex Dare down for coming off after 10 for a sore finger!

Have your always wanted to be a Rugby League player?
I remember telling Matty Jones and Callum Merrett that I’ve always loved league… they may recall it slightly differently though.

What attracted you to play Rugby League/for the club?
Alex Dare convinced me to give it a shot after promising to buy me food and a pint after training, naturally I said yes.

What advice would you give to someone getting into Rugby League?
Watch a few pro games first and get an understanding if you’re used to union. Took me ages not to want to go in for a ruck.

Favourite Bath Rugby League moment?
The boys! The lads behind the badge have made the club what it is.

What’s been your favourite memory in your career so far?
Beating Lithuania at London 9s last year with Bath being half the size of those units and still coming out on top!

Are you interested in any other sports?
I play union for Weston Super Mare but that’s about it other than the occasional run.

Favourite food?
Fajitas, can’t go to uni and say anything else can you??

Least favourite food?
Olives

Favourite hobbies?
Winning the gulag

Favourite places to travel?
Lindos in Rhodes, would live there if I could. Not sure it’ll be good for a ginger like me though!

If you were stuck on a desert island with one other Bath player who would it be?
Chatts (Chris Chatten) for sure! If he can survive up north, he could survive a desert island easy.

If you were stuck on a desert island which item would you choose to have?
A rugby ball so I can have all the time to finally practice how to pass.

Get to know… Kyle Armstrong

#Gettingtoknow series

First memory of rugby?
Being laughed at for asking to play on the school team in year 10 and then scoring a try in my first game. Rugby League – In 2018 for US Portsmouth Navy Seahawks against Oxford Cavaliers

Debut for any club?
Portsmouth u16

Bath Rugby League debut?
First West of England League fixture of the 2019 season at home to Oxford Cavaliers

Have your always wanted to be a rugby league player?
Not always but was fed up with man management in Rugby Union and needed an alternative and then fell in love with Rugby League.

What attracted you to play Rugby League/for the club?
Poor treatment in Rugby Union and because Portsmouth disbanded. Bath have treated me very well.

What advice would you give to someone getting into Rugby League?
Make sure your fitness is up otherwise your in for a hard day at the office.

Favourite Bath Rugby League moment?
Scoring against Cardiff in a friendly(the only time I scored) or the win against Cheltenham at home because it was the first time I won in Bath colours.

What’s been your favourite memory in your career so far?
First time playing for West of England and going to England Lionhearts trials twice.

Are you interested in any other sports?
Athletics

Favourite food?
Roast turkey

Least favourite food?
Tuna

Favourite hobbies?
At the moment, short to long distance running

Favourite places to travel?
Haven’t done to much but and I’m in Australia and it’s topped pretty much everything so far (We hope to hear about Kyle’s experience of playing Rugby League in Australia soon…).

If you were stuck on a desert island with one other Bath player who would it be?
I’d say I’m a slight outcast from the team living so far away so it might surprise him but Ben Shedwick just because when you play with someone like that on your side it really feels like you got a guy willing to do anything on the pitch for you.

If you were stuck on a desert island which item would you choose to have?
Suncream

Jake Brookes shares his experience playing Rugby in Kuala Lumpur

After his debut season with Bath Rugby League on completion of the season Jake travelled to Kuala Lumpur to play for Kuala Lumpur Tigers (August 2019 – March 2020).

Kuala Lumpur is in Malaysia. Jake started a gap year working as a sports coach in an International School in KL, to play rugby and travel. I didn’t think that there would be much rugby played, but I was wrong. One of the teachers at the school put me in touch with the coach of Kuala Lumpur Tigers. Due to being 18 years old, I found I was eligible to play for the Under 18s, U 19s and the Senior Team (subject to being good enough).

Kuala Lumpur Tigers

Formed in 2014, Kuala Lumpur Tigers is home to more than 500 players across all of its playing groups and were the first official Global Partner Club of Leicester Tigers. The junior teams welcome boys and girls from as young as four for up to 18 years old, alongside the club’s senior men’s team, a veterans team and a women’s rugby team. They have players, coaches and volunteers from over 20 countries helping to run and support KL Tigers, the club prides itself as ‘a united nations of rugby’.

What was your experience and time with the team?

My debut was for the senior team against the state team called Selangor. This team was made up of the best players from the other teams in the state. This experience was really good for me because it was a big step up into the adult game from the U18s game that I was previously playing. I was playing at number 6 and managed to end up on the score sheet and I was delighted that we beat them.

As I was still 18 it allowed me to train and play with the U18 academy at first. In this period leading up to Christmas I played with the squad for a couple of games and in a tournament as a centre role. I was also training with the senior team on Tuesday and Thursday as well and also played a couple of warm up games for the senior team as they were leading up to the start of the MRL league start. The weather is hot and humid with lots smog, which meant that sometimes the training or games had to be cancelled. The grass is also different to pitches in England and when it rains becomes very boggy and difficult to run on.

Before the first game of the league I was selected to play for the U19s team in a tournament in Bangkok which I was excited about, but sadly around this time KL went into lockdown due to the spread of Covid 19 and rugby was suspended.

The first game of the MRL league I was selected to start at number 6 and this game was a success, as we were able to defeat the other team quite comfortably. This first game had set us up nicely and I was looking forward to continuing our run in the league and hopefully win it by the end of the run. Sadly, the league had to be stopped due to Covid19 and I had to return home. Overall I had an amazing time and also believe it was a fantastic experience for me. I hope to return at some point soon so I can continue playing for the club and hopefully finish the league with them.

What was the standard like in Malaysia?

The standard in Malaysia was a high level. This is because the city Kuala Lumpur is a very multicultural city which meant that there was a big ex pat community. Lot of English, Aussie, Kiwis and South Africans living in the country due to work. There were also a lot of strong Malaysian players as well even though football was more popular in the country. The National Team were trying to develop and one day hopefully be able to qualify for the World Cup as well as the 7s team have played in a couple tournaments against other nations around them.

What is the culture like in Malaysia?

The Malaysian people are generally relaxed and extremely kind people. The country is very hot and humid with temperatures normally over 30 degrees but at the same time in the rainy season the weather takes a complete change with it raining more in one day than it would in a month in the summer as well as the lightning and thunder that the country gets. Malaysia is a Muslim country but Kuala Lumpur is a multicultural city so there were many places where we could grab a pint after the games.

Get to know…Chris Chatten

#gettingtoknow series

First memory of rugby?

Going to watch Ryedale-York (now known as York City Knights) in their first season at Ryedale Stadium (the site where the new York Community Stadium is located) in 1989/90 season.

Debut for any club?

Heworth under 13s, pre-season friendly against local rivals York Acorn probably 1992, went down with 3 lads from my village (Stamford Bridge).

Bath Rugby League debut?

Never played for the club, I might if needed, but wouldn’t want to be a liability ha

Have your always wanted to be a rugby league player?

Yes but was never a very good one, skills better suited for Rugby League administration.

What attracted you to play Rugby League/for the club?

Rugby League is simply a microcosm of life (other people may say the same about other sports), met so many people and been to so many different places through involvement in the sport that I might never have visited. I also want to give anyone in the Bath and surrounding area the opportunity to play Rugby League, and play at the highest level possible, hopefully with Bath one day.

What advice would you give to someone getting into Rugby League? Don’t knock it till you have tried it, not many look back once they have had the opportunity to play. Give it a try, with an open mind.

Favourite Bath Rugby League moment?

Winning the West of England Championship Final in 2018 after a lot of hard work on and off the field, but first ever game in 2017 was special beating local rivals Bristol Sonics on the opening day of the season. Also take plenty of satisfaction from some close defeats away at Somerset Vikings in recent years.

What’s been your favourite memory in your career so far?

In my playing career was playing for Warrington Collegiate Institute (now known as University of Chester & Warrington Wolves training ground at Padgate Campus) in the National University Competition, a high scoring game at Leicester stands out when I played hooker.

Are you interested in any other sports?

Not much spare time too, would like to play more snooker and pool, like watching a bit of snooker.

Favourite food?

Spag bol

Least favourite food?

Sprouts

Favourite hobbies?

A bit of culture, like going to live music in unique venues, so looking forward to a gig when things get back to normal.

Favourite places to travel?

Cyprus

If you were stuck on a desert island which item would you choose to have?

Mobile Phone

Get to know…Tom Culshaw

#Gettingtonknow series

First memory of rugby?

Scoring against my own team playing for the opposition youth rugby away to Swindon.

Debut for any club?

Trowbridge 3rd team away to Salisbury exiles, our colts coach sent 3 of us away for senior rugby experience.

Bath Rugby League debut?

First league game of the first ever season at home to Bristol Sonics. I missed the West of England 9s competition the previous week.

Have your always wanted to be a rugby league player?

No ,never enter my mind but I was bored in summer during union off season and found out through the grape vine about a Rugby League club in the area and thought I would give it a go.

What attracted you to play Rugby League/for the club?

Why not? I just love playing Rugby. What better way to spend your summer.

What advice would you give to someone getting into Rugby League?

I would always recommend it to anyone, especially if you’re from a rugby union background it’s been great for me to advance my skill set.

Favourite Bath Rugby League moment?

Away to Somerset Viking in 2018 season we played such a great game of rugby. A real “heart on your sleeve ” game of rugby. A game where everyone gave everything they had.

What’s been your favourite memory in your career so far?

Rugby has given me loads of great memories so it’s hard to pick one , but I was really pleased when I was pick to represent the West of England Rugby League regional representative squad. Always great to be able to test yourself against some quality players.

Are you interested in any other sports?

Not really. Who doesn’t love watching a bit of Football though.

Favourite food?

Spaghetti bolognese

Least favourite food?

Not a big lover of shellfish

Favourite hobbies?

Baking, cycling, gardening

Favourite places to travel?

Anywhere by the coast spend alot of time down Purbeck.

If you were stuck on a desert island with one other Bath player who would it be?

It would have to be nooty (James Noott)

If you were stuck on a desert island which item would you choose to have?

Well if Bear Grylls has taught me anything then all I should need is a Parang.

Exiled Bath Rugby League player – playing Rugby in Brunei

Lewis Atkinson is currently playing Rugby Union Brunei having previously being a regular player with Bath Rugby League in the 2017 debut season, he also played union locally for Corsham. When Lewis has been back in the area visiting family in the last couple of years he has always tried to fit in a Rugby League game, his visit back to the UK is usually end of May bank holiday and was a welcome addition to the Westbury 10s event where the club finished beaten finalists. Lewis is nicknamed ‘Tank’ but has also had the nickname of ‘mini-tank’ when the club had two ‘tanks’ in the squad.

Tell us how playing representative Rugby in Brunei came about?

As I have always had a keen interest in Rugby since 2003 and played at various levels during my time in the UK, I jumped at the chance to carrying on playing rugby for a local team when I moved from the UK to Brunei. I currently play for The Flying Kukris which is made up of mainly British Military personnel.  With the Flying Kukris I have been involved in various 7’s, 10’s and 15’s tournaments. At the end of 2017, after playing in a 10’s tournament, myself and a couple of my team mates were approached by the Head Coach for the Brunei National Team. He had seen us play in various tournaments and invited us to join the national trials they were holding to build a team for their 2018 international tournament. The trials were split into two parts – a skills / fitness session and a match between all the trialists. After this an initial squad of 40 players was announced which I was lucky enough to be part of. From there I spent several months training hard and playing various warm up matches vs local teams from Brunei and Malaysia to prove to the coaches that I should be selected. The team was cut down from 40 to 30 a couple of months before the tournament and then cut down once again to a final squad of 23. A couple of weeks before the tournament began the starting 15 was announced and I was shocked and honoured to have not only have made the final 23 man squad but also to have been selected in the 1st XV as hooker.

What was your debut like?

My debut match was against Guam, who are a very strong team. We were presented our match shirt a few hours before kick off which is when it first hit me that I was playing for a country at an international level. It is a moment I will personally never forget. Even though I wasn’t playing for my own national team the experience and the atmosphere when standing in the tunnel beforehand and during the national anthems was breath-taking. Unfortunately for me the match itself started off in a bad way as my foot/ankle gave way in the first tackle I made (found out a week after the tournament that I had actually broken a couple of bones in my ankle). I had my ankle strapped up tightly and committed myself to the rest of the match. Due to the USA military base in Guam their team was made up of a high proportion of American players. They were a very well drilled team with strong runners and a very good back line with their 10 being their stand out star player. The experience of the game and my pride in my own performance given the circumstances are something I will never forget, even if the result was not in our favour.

How many caps do you have?

I currently have 2 caps to my name for playing with Brunei. One against Guam and one against China. I was hoping to pick up another couple of appearances in May 2019 but the tournament was unfortunately cancelled as Mongolia, one of the teams involved, pulled out. There were plans to re-organise the tournament for April 2020 but this was again cancelled due to Covid-19. I am hopeful that I can earn a few more caps whilst I’m still here living in Brunei.

What is the standard of rugby like in Brunei?

Brunei is a small country from which people much prefer and prioritise football. When I first moved here I thought there wouldn’t be much rugby if any at all. However, there are a few local teams which contain players of reasonable standards. There are also a high number of expats from strong rugby countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Fiji living in Brunei who have grown the rugby playing community and who play at a high standard – for example I play and have played alongside a few former / current Army players. The league formats here are different to the UK with the 15’s league being played over a short period with fewer teams usually resulting in 2 games per weekend. The rest of the year is filled with various friendly matches played against teams from Malaysia and 10’s / 7’s tournaments.

What is the Culture generally like in Brunei?

The culture over here is generally relaxed and the Bruneian people are kind. It is a very hot and humid country with temperatures usually ranging from 30-35 degrees so that took some time to get used to especially when running around and playing Rugby. Brunei is a Muslim country and is therefore dry (no alcohol) but, as I live in a British Military community, we do have places we can go to grab a pint or two. It’s a quiet country and a great place to live, especially if you use it as a hub to travel around the rest of Asia.

Get to know…Will Dennett

#gettingtoknow series

First memory of rugby?
Would have to be watching the 2003 World Cup with my dad

Debut for any club?
Tavistock Rfc

Bath Rugby League debut?
Hopefully soon

Have your always wanted to be a rugby league player?
To be honest, until I moved to the area I’ve never been interested. However, since I’ve started being interested, I’m looking forward to the challenge.

What attracted you to play Rugby League/for the club?
The physicality of the game

What advice would you give to someone getting into Rugby League?
I’ve recently been introduced to the bronco, so my advice would be to start working on your cardio!!

Favourite Bath Rugby League moment?
Not had many, so would have to be the zoom chat where I got to speak to everyone

What’s been your favourite memory in your career so far?
Would be winning the junior vase southern counties final with Westbury RFC

Are you interested in any other sports?
I’m a very keen cyclist, so apologies for slowing down everyone’s commute to work!

Favourite food?
Cheese. So much so, I’ve convinced the missus to get rid of the wedding cake to have a cheese board!

Least favourite food?
Cauliflower

Favourite hobbies?
Cycling, walking the dog and love playing the PS4

Favourite places to travel?
Everywhere if it’s done on a coach!

If you were stuck on a desert island which item would you choose to have?
A lighter

Get to know…Tom Delaney

#gettingtoknow series

First memory of rugby?

Playing at school in year 7 PE

Debut for any club?

Played for Cardiff Met in my first year of uni against Bristol

Bath Rugby League debut?

Hopefully soon

Have your always wanted to be a Rugby League player?

No, only since joining university

What attracted you to play Rugby League/for the club?

Friendly nature of the club, seems more like a team rather than a group of individuals.

What advice would you give to someone getting into Rugby League?

Get stuck in with both feet (and hands)

What’s been your favourite memory in your career so far?

Beating Exeter uni in Exeter 34-0 with only 12 men from the first minute of the game due to an injury, against a full 17.

Are you interested in any other sports?

Rugby Union, Athletics, Football, any sport really

Favourite food?

Burgers

Least favourite food?

Casserole

Favourite hobbies?

Gym

Favourite places to travel?

Anywhere that serves a good pint

If you were stuck on a desert island which item would you choose to have?

Multitool penknife

Get to know…George Frost

#gettingtoknow series

First memory of rugby?

Watching England win the World Cup

Debut for any club?

September 2013 playing against Stroud I think

Bath Rugby League debut?

Pre season against Royal Signals 2018

Have your always wanted to be a Rugby League player?

Not really only took it up for fitness and enjoyed it straight away

What attracted you to play Rugby League/for the club?

Alex Dare brought me down

What advice would you give to someone getting into Rugby League?

Watch as much as you can online best way to get to know the laws

Favourite Bath Rugby League moment and favourite memory in career so far?

Winning in the final against Cheltenham Phoenix in 2018

Are you interested in any other sports?

No

Favourite food?

Pizza

Least favourite food?

Pickles

Favourite hobbies?

DIY

Favourite places to travel?

St Ives

If you were stuck on a desert island with one other Bath player who would it be?

Brandon Ball

If you were stuck on a desert island which item would you choose to have?

Thatchers Haze