Lincoln RFC look to the future

Based at the Lindum Sports Club in North Lincoln, is Lincoln Rugby Club. The red and greens formed in 1882 and originally played games opposite the Gold Cross Inn on the high street, which is now known as Cramwell Street. They first team currently are playing in the Midlands 3 East (North) league, which is amateur and 4 leagues below the Aviva Premiership. Before their match against Belgrave on Saturday 30 October, they were currently 0 from 6 for the season and propping up the rest of the league.

Peter Small has been chairman at the club for 10 years, and he outlined the club’s hopes and plans for the future before their match against Belgrave, where they were defeated 26-19 in front of home fans.

“My son started playing in the Under 13s and I ended up helping coach them. As he progressed through, I started to get itchy feet and ended playing again at the age of 42!” he says with a witty smile. “Then they asked me if I’d like to be chairman and I’ve been chairman ever since. It’s a family interest really, as my brother has also here at the time, playing in the second team.”

Small has outlined the club’s plans to move into a new £1.4m facility at Nettleham. The club needs to raise £500,000 to meet the required amount to begin work. The move will also see the club able to launch a women’s team and also house the University’s rugby union, rugby league and American football teams. Small says getting planning permission is, so far, the high point of his tenure in charge.

“We’ve raised about £1million through grants and looking for another half million to complete the move. We’ll be moving to a purposely built clubhouse on a 32 acre site, whilst Lindum is a 9 acre site.” He continues. “There we will have 4 pitches, instead of 2 here and also about 12 pitches for juniors and minis.”

Small feels that the club isn’t yet ready to enter into the semi-professional leagues, as the deficit is too big for his club to make up at this present time. “That is a long way ahead. Personally I don’t believe in paying players, but if we were to go up a league, I’m sure it might come to that. At the moment, we’ve got a long way to go, as we’re propping up the league!” However, he believes it the future it could become an issue. “That’s something for the future generations to decide if they want. All my life it’s been an amateur game and played for the enjoyment by the players and I think that’s how I’d like to it to stay.”

Small also thanks the England national team’s World Cup win in 2003 for helping the club to grow in the community. “We got a fourth team, the year we won, out of the World Cup, if you like. We’ve managed to maintain the number of people, who were inspired by the win and wanted to play rugby [union.] We’ve got four seniors teams, and not many can boast that, and I’m confident in my own mind that it was down to the World Cup win. Lots of old players wanted to come back and new ones appeared, you only need 20 players and you’ve got a team.”
In his time in charge, he has seen the number of youth players increase. “On a Sunday morning, is the minis and juniors. We have up to 250 juniors playing and child welfare has been one of the most improved things here in my time, the RFU are looking at protecting the children and it has become a lot more prominent than it ever was in the past.”