A new club looking to give back to the community has been founded in the north Midlands.
Sherwood Wolf Hunt RLFC is based in Mansfield Woodhouse, in the middle of Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, and they are set to compete in this year’s Midlands Rugby League.
Rugby league is not new to the area, indeed Mansfield has had teams since the 1980’s. Mansfield Marksman competed from the mid 80’s to mid 90’s, and after a spell as Nottingham City they then became Nottingham Outlaws. Another club from the area, Garibaldi RLFC, competed in the Yorkshire League from 1984 until 2001 and later became Mansfield Storm, playing in the first leagues of the summer era.
This rich history started during the 1984/85 miners strike, perhaps with the influence of Yorkshire miners travelling the short distance south to ply their trade, not only as miners, but hard men on the rugby league pitch.
The links with mining heritage continues at Sherwood Wolf Hunt, as Mansfield Woodhouse, the largest village in the country, was home to the Sherwood Colliery until 1993. Nearby Clipstone, home of Garibaldi, still has the highest headstocks in the country, but sadly mining has all but left the area.
The love of rugby league has not though, and many experienced players have jumped at the chance to compete again. A number of new players have also joined the Wolf Hunt as a result of the startling recent growth of the club – something aided by the success of the World Cup and the publicity brought about by the defections of Sam Burgess and Sam Tomkins.
The unusual name of Sherwood Wolf Hunt RLFC has historic meaning. Mansfield Woodhouse, which has been home to warriors since Roman times, has a ‘Wolf Hunt Cottage’ – home of the medieval King’s Wolf Hunters, dating back to Robin Hood times. The rugby league club aims to work with the local community and bring positive opportunities to this thriving area, outside of the sport’s heartlands.
The club, founded by local residents Adam Bates from Rochdale and Richard Tempest-Mitchell from Bradford, are using their experience in rugby league to pull together a growing squad and experienced administrative team.
“We are building a sustainable club in the Sherwood Forest area, that will hopefully complete in the higher leagues in the future,” said chairman Tempest-Mitchell.
“There is a long history of rugby league in the area and we are tapping into that, as well as the local rugby union scene for new players.
“We are very thankful to Woodhouse Giants RUFC and Mansfield District Council, who have provided facilities and a ‘home’ for the Wolf Hunt.
“We want to start relatively small, build a squad and first team, and then hopefully put out a development squad at some point.
“Then we have staff in at least two local secondary schools and the local youth club, of which I am treasurer/director.
“Together we are putting in a bid to Sport England for satellite club funding, which will grow our potential for the future.”
The Wolf Hunt will play their home games at TheBIGVillage green, Slant Lane, Mansfield Woodhouse, starting 6th April 2014. All new and experienced players are welcome and the club can be contacted on Facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org.