Buxton, in Derbyshire’s Peak District, is not a place that generally comes to mind when thinking about rugby league.
But that part of the Midlands is not that far away from league’s north western hotbeds, and our game is now beginning to establish a presence in the region, thanks to the Buxton Bulls.
Now in their third season of existence, the club has received a boost recently in the shape of receiving mentoring from RFL chief operating officer Ralph Rimmer.
As part of an RFL plan to provide greater support to community clubs, Rimmer is advising the Bulls as they look to revitalise their fortunes, form a new committee and recruit new players.
The club needs an influx of players and specialist rugby league coaches in order to build the club again after a deflating year last year.
They are also crying out for off-field, administrative and business expertise to help the club establish real, solid roots, on which it can begin to properly thrive.
The man who is currently taking on much of the burden for running the club is Roy Belton, who met with Rimmer recently to discuss the Buxton’s club’s future.
The club has just finished its third season of existence, having been formed from the ashes of another Derbyshire club, which was located in the Hope Valley.
A player called Tommy McGuigan decided that another club was required, and, with help from Roy Belton and the GMB Union, the Bulls were formed.
The first season, the club played in the Midlands Merit League, where they found the standard a little bit low, winning 11 games from 11.
In their second season, they competed in the Midlands Premier League, but, due to losing rugby union players at the business end of the season, they were not successful after making the play-offs.
Success in 2016 has also been elusive, largely due to the club fading away to a small handful of players and administrators.
“This season has been particularly traumatic,” Belton explained to Love Rugby League.
“We’ve lost Tommy. We’ve lost our treasurer. Rugby union players have been unavailable.
“We’ve had quite a few games where we’ve not been able to run teams, so this year has not been the most successful.
“We should have played 12 games, we only managed to play seven or eight, to be honest.
“That’s due to a lack of players. There’s no point turning out for an away game with only eight players.”
But the priority at the moment is not just to find players, but to organise a proper committee which can launch a proper recruitment campaign.
“In effect, we’re relaunching the club,” Belton added.
“We’re putting out a call for committee members from the wider sporting community.
“We’re trying to spread the load, because at the moment there’s two of us running it.
“There’s only so much that two people can do.
“The bulk of the work is now on myself and another committee member.
“When Ralph came down, the first thing he said is that we need to get our committee organised.
“So we’re looking for people who have got an interest in rugby league, or sport in general, who might like to give us a hand running the club.
“We’re not looking for any particular skills or experience, just mature, sensible adults, reall, who will share the burden.”