The new rugby league team took the 46-36 victory against Bristol Sonics after a high-scoring thriller on their home turf
Saturday 13th May, 2017 marked a historic occasion for Bath’s newest rugby team, Bath Rugby League. The league side debuted a strong team on home soil this Saturday at Chippenham RFC’s Allington Fields Ground during their inaugural West of England fixture against local rivals Bristol Sonics RL. The new Bath team was victorious with a 46-36 win over the Sonics challengers. Treated to a thrilling and close game of rugby, the squad and spectators were also given a history lesson by Bath rugby veteran Gary Waywell, who turned up to watch the historic event.
As an ex-player of the old Bath club which operated in the 1980s & 1990s, Gary’s motivational speech struck a chord with the new Bath Rugby League players. Hooker Rex Boulter, fresh from representing Ireland Student Rugby League in a 9’s competition, scored a hat-trick of tries with 6 conversions for a personal points-haul of 24. Jay Patterson operating at prop scored the first ever Bath Rugby League competitive try with an unstoppable run to the line scoring near the posts.
Bath had two international players in the line-up: club captain Tom Plance (Scotland Students) and Ed Tait (Ireland Students). Bath also included a number of up and coming youngsters in the line-up, one of which was 17 year old full-back Ruben Moxham, who was given the captain’s Man of the Match in his first ever game of Rugby League. Trowbridge based Henners Beer impressed with some strong running going forward and was rewarded with a try close to the posts.
After leading 24-14 at half-time, it looked like Bath had the better fitness levels but the Sonics would not lie down. Bristol stormed back into the game during the second half, snatching the lead 26-24 for a brief period. However, Bath’s side proved too strong for the Sonics, scoring 4 more tries in the second half and outscoring the opposition 8 tries to 7 overall. Bath’s Rex Boulter and Ruben Moxham had more luck with goal kicking on a windy day than Bristol’s stand-off Dom Swann, who played in Bristol Sonics’ first season back in 2002. The Sonics fielded a number of strong players, one of which was hooker Jack Uren who is on dual-registration from University of Gloucestershire All Golds, which operates in the semi-professional League 1 competition.
Chris Chatten, Bath Rugby League’s Club Coordinator said, “We are a welcoming club and want to give anyone the opportunity to come and have a crack at Rugby League in a fun and friendly environment. We are a true community club but also bring professionalism to our operations. It was excellent to get an opening day win but what is more important is to have a good culture around the club, which sets the tone for developing good people and players who are gelling well as a group. The club would still like to identify some more new players, so please come and join in the fun at training every Wednesday evening at Chippenham RFC from 7pm.”
With professionalism running through the veins of the club, Bath RL announced this week that James Fox will be leading the coaching team for the 2017 season. James joins the club from National Conference League side Stanley Rangers and is currently a Performance & Development Officer at the Rugby Football League. As a keen advocate for growing the game of rugby league, James is an ideal appointment and aspires to help lead the club to a successful debut season in the West of England League.
James commented, “This is an extremely exciting opportunity to help grow the game. Bath is an area with a huge appetite for rugby and the players seem very receptive to rugby league and fully engage with everything that we have thrown at them. We had a great opening day win on Saturday in our first game against a tough Bristol side. Our young guys showed plenty of character and we got the result we deserved. It’s a testament to all the hard work done by Chris, Tom & Andy off the field that allowed us to get to a good start in our season opener. It’s up to us now as a group to back this up and show that it wasn’t a flash-in-the-pan result when we play Oxford this weekend”.
The club are pleased to have secured the services of Kevin Moggridge, a highly experienced Level 3 Rugby Union Coach. Having worked full-time with the RFU and successfully developing the women’s game in recent years, Kevin became Head Coach of Frome RFC and led them to success in the Bath Combination Cup. More recently, Kevin’s wealth of skill and experiences took Avonvale RFC to the top of the league this past season. Kevin will join Bath RL in the coming weeks after completing Somerset county coaching commitments. After a series of successes in rugby union Kevin welcomes the new challenge of training a rugby league squad.
The club hopes to create a winning streak this weekend when they travel to Oxford on Saturday 20th May to take on Oxford Cavaliers at 2.30pm, Oxford RFC, North Hinksey, Oxford, OX2 0NA, they would also really welcome some away support.
If you would like to play for the club or feel you could support the club in other ways, be that sponsorship or volunteering, please contact Chris Chatten club coordinator on tel: 07810 552196 email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or come along to training sessions Wednesday evening 7pm @ Chippenham RFC.
The club have a new website www.bathrugbyleague.co.uk which is still developing, you can also engage with the club on Twitter: @BathRugbyLeague and Facebook: www.facebook.com/BathRugbyLeague