Since rugby league was introduced to Hope Valley in 2011 the village has seen a resurgence in interest for the sport which has been propelled by the work being carried out at Hope Valley RFC.
A proud and welcoming union club at heart, Hope Valley opened their doors to league and welcomed the game with open arms. Mike Shires, founder of the Hawks discusses the impact the game has had.
“After playing union with the club I suggested the idea of organising a summer rugby league team and I was given great support.
“The club has really got behind the idea of being a dual code club and without their support we would not be where we are now.”
Where the Hawks are now is leading the Men’s Midland Merit League with six wins out of seven, this coming after a successful 2011 debut year which saw the Hawks swoop aside tough opposition to win the league at the first time of asking.
“Last year was all about establishing the side and getting the community interested in rugby league.
“It was not in our wildest dreams we would go on to win it, but that is credit to the club, supporters and players for believing in themselves.”
Union and League have often not seen eye to eye, however, it is obvious at Hope Valley that both codes are prepared to put these old fashioned differences aside and support each other in developing grass roots rugby.
Many of the Hawks players will be lining up come the winter to tackle the 15-a-side game and many will start with new skills.
So, is it time we started to work closely with our brother code and share in developing both games? Shires certainly thinks so;
“Rugby is rugby and I would encourage any club to adopt the dual code model that opens up new avenues of player and coach recruitment as well as sources of funding.
“It’s a win-win for “Rugby” and the local community.”
l Hope Valley Hawks Rugby League train Tuesday nights from 6.30pm, Hope Valley Rugby Union begin training on Thursday July 19.
To attend, contact Scott Buckler on 07702 894 801.