The North West’s only gay rugby club, the Manchester Village Spartans go in to 2010 stronger than ever before.
The team, who celebrated their 10 year anniversary in 2009 start the New Year 3rd in the Miller Homes Division 5 East league. With just half of this seasons games already played, they are hoping to maintain their chart position which means they have a chance of promotion next season.
The team has not only had success in the league, but have also been successful in recruiting over 15 new players since the start of the 2009/2010 season, many of whom had never played competitive rugby before. Their success in recruiting and retaining new blood is largely part to the expert coaching which caters to all abilities, alongside the welcoming and supportive atmosphere that the more experienced and longer standing players strive to maintain. “I’d never played rugby before, but we met the Spartans on one of their recruitment events out on Canal Street and it seemed like a laugh, so I took the plunge and turned up to training one evening. I was really nervous that I wouldn’t fit in and that I’d make a fool of myself, but the guys made me feel really welcome. I still make mistakes and I’m never going to be Jonny Wilkinson, but I’m just enjoying being part of the team and it’s nice to keep fit in a way that’s enjoyable and sociable at the same time” said one of the newer recruits.
Of course, the Spartans also have qualified coaching staff that cater to the more experienced players’ abilities too and they push the guys hard to improve their fitness, technique and and their game in general. “When I tell people that I play for a gay rugby team, they think that we must be crap and instantly assume that it’s all just a bit of fun. Don’t get me wrong, it is a great laugh, but everyone in the team works hard and we play to quite a good level. We’re currently 3rd in a league of 12 teams so that speaks for itself! As we recruit more players, there’s more competition to get a game on a Saturday, so we’re constantly pushing ourselves and each other to do better” says Matt, the team captain.
When the team finish their season in April, there won’t be any let up in training though. “we’ve got a big international competition in the USA coming up in June and this year we want to win” says Gareth, player and PR Manager for the team. The Spartans will be competing against over 30 other gay teams from around the world in the Bingham Cup, widely known as the Gay Rugby World Cup. They made it to the Quarter finals in Dublin in 2008 but unfortunately failed to bring home any silverware. This year they hope that will change.
So get behind the Spartans and show your support!
More information can be found at www.villagespartans.co.uk