Ironsides Juniors become Ironsides Men
What is it about rugby that we are drawn to; the speed, the skill, the physicality of the game? Whilst these are all things that make the rugby so attractive, it is something more intangible that attracts many.
The values of rugby are frequently mooted as at the soul of the game, but even more enduring is the sense of belonging that rugby endears amongst its community.
As the Head Coach of the Juniors team born at the turn of the Millennium, the sense of community and belonging that young men develop, far outstrips the game on the pitch. I've coached the team for the past four seasons, from ages 14 to 18 we have seen a group of boys grow into men.
Watching this development is the most rewarding aspect of the grassroots of the game. Rugby gives young men the bonds, self respect and resilience that are so important in life.
Continuing this development in the club, it was a pleasure to introduce the current Under 18s to the Senior squad. On Tuesday 27th March, players from the Under 18s joined senior training to continue their Ironsides journey. After years playing in the juniors, it is important that our young players have a senior club to move onto once they finish school. For some, this will mean playing immediately as they start work or gap years, and for others the club hopes it will allow them to have a place to train and play in between university term time and upon graduation.
Director of Rugby, Alex Hadley said:
"Ironsides Juniors are the Club's future, and we welcome you to the senior side. It is really exciting to see so much talent coming through the Junior Section and we look forward to bringing this talent into the Men's teams".
Ironsides Men have been fielding 7 senior teams this season. 5 Men's teams, The Vets and the Under 21s. This summer there is a plan to run a Senior Sevens side as a way to develop a broader skills base in the club. First Team and Sevens Coach Shane Cooney said:
"We plan to bring at least 4 Under 21s players into the Senior Sevens team this summer, and Under 18s joining the Senior side should play a big part in this"
With the strength coming through the Junior setup, it is clear to see why the Whole Club is going from strength to strength. A senior side with boys from throughout the local community who have played at the club benefits from their loyalty and their dedication to Ironsides. Long may this partnership between Juniors and Seniors continue. Fear Naught!
Picture L-R, Thibault Dubois, Tom Checkley, Mike Crofts, Bailey Telfer, Finlay Wright.
4 U18s played their first seniors games, alongside their Coach Mike Crofts. Ironsides were victorious in the semi final vs Kingston 2nds and progress to the Surrey County Senior "Jug" Final.
Team Captain Mike Hardman said he was hugely excited to have such high quality players coming into his side and performing so well.
If you are an ex Ironsides Junior and wish to train and play with Ironsides Men's Rugby, you must be at least 17 and can contact the current Under 18s Coach Mike Crofts, or Under 21s Coach Paddy Flynn for more details: firstname.lastname@example.org
-Mike Crofts, U18s Head Coach
2002 - Treviso Tour
2006 - Road to Rouen
2009 - Final Game for Ironsides
2017 - Back Home with Marcus
2017 - Living with the Pride
2006 - Set Piece
2008 - U14 @ Centre
2016 - Funday Awards
2017 - On the Plane
2017 - Facing the Press