Rochdale Hornets launch incredible community rugby league side

Rugby league in Rochdale has received a huge boost, with the Rochdale Hornets Sporting Foundation launching a new community playing side. The Rochdale Hornets Community team will play their first game on Saturday 23 July, in the merit league, with the aim

The team is managed by a group of volunteers and chaired by Stephen Strand. He commented: “I’m really happy to have formed a new open-age rugby league team, in Rochdale. I spoke with Steve Kerr and Chris Tomlinson about the idea of a new team, in the borough, and they were on board straight away with the idea. They’ve helped and advised throughout, to make this idea possible.

“The team is proud and honoured to be part of the Rochdale Hornets family; the response from lads who haven’t played rugby for a few years has been excellent. I’d like to thank coaches Lee Wilson, Damien Mitchell, and Neil Connolly for their efforts in putting on good training sessions for the lads. The team have their first game against Portico Vine of St Helens on Saturday – and the lads can’t wait.”

The community team is the third team under the Rochdale Hornets umbrella and joins the Women’s and Wheelchair teams that compete in the Rugby Football League’s competitions. Chris Tomlinson, the Foundation’s Business Development Director, is enthusiastic about the new venture: “Stephen came to us with a goal of creating a new club to provide more opportunities for participation, ranging from junior grades all the way through to open-age. 

“As an organisation we share that same vison and we want to achieve the same things. Ultimately we want to see more people playing rugby league, so we jumped at the chance to help. There’s been a considerable amount of effort behind-the-scenes to get the new team to this position. We believe this is a significant step forward for rugby league in Rochdale.”

The team will play in the famous Rochdale Hornets colours of red, white, and blue and Hornets CEO Steve Kerr explained why the club were so enthusiastic to offer support: “Our strategy for growth is based on increasing participation and spectatorship, so to welcome a community open-age team as part of the Rochdale Hornets brand is incredibly exciting. 

“I’ve had the privilege of meeting with some of our new players and coaches – their enthusiasm and passion for the game was fantastic. Whether you’re returning to the game or taking it up for the first time there’s an opportunity for you, and I’m incredibly proud of the work we’re doing in the community. 

“I’d like to thank Supro Sport for sponsoring the playing kit along with Premier Kia and Russell Homes, our principal partners. As an inclusive club that welcomes all faiths, backgrounds, and abilities, I’d like to welcome our newest members and I congratulate Chris, Stephen and the team for taking this huge step forward with us.”

For anyone interested in joining the team, either as a player, coach or volunteer please contact Stephen Strand – stephen_strand@aol.com. Training is every Wednesday and Friday at 6.30pm at Firgrove Playing Fields, Belfield Lane, Rochdale, OL16 3AY.

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