Rugby club hoping to 'ignite' interest following pandemic

Thetford Rugby Club team, with organiser Mark Laws (centre, front row) in good spirits despite losin

Thetford Rugby Club team pictured in 2018 - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

A Norfolk rugby club is looking to "ignite interest" and re-establish its playing base following a difficult few years made worse by the pandemic.

Thetford Rugby Club has seen a gradual decline in its number of regular players and had to stop almost all sporting activity over the last two years, because of Covid restrictions.

But it is now seeking to reverse the trend and try to secure more support from its local community, both to recruit more players and also to encourage more people to come and watch matches.

In the 1980s, the club used to have four teams, but it is now struggling to put out two sides, and sometimes just one.

Competing demands of work and family commitments have been blamed for the difficulties in attracting players, even before Covid.

Peter Quantrill, chairman, said: "It's a hard situation. We're trying to re-establish ourselves after Covid and are looking for players on a regular basis.

"We're also looking to re-establish a junior section in the club from nine to 12 years old."

Peter Quantrill pictured left with others at the club

Peter Quantrill pictured left with others at the club - Credit: Lorna Quantrill

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Mr Quantrill's wife, Lorna - who is also involved in the club - said: "The Covid pandemic has created challenges for Thetford Rugby Club, as with many other sporting associations.

"We have however seen this as an opportunity to open our facilities to more diverse activities for the local community at large.

"Many years ago there used to be a really good community feel, but over the two-year closure it seems to have dropped off."

In an effort to raise awareness and funds to keep the club running, members are holding a car boot sale every Sunday this summer.

The club house at Thetford Rugby Club

The club house at Thetford Rugby Club - Credit: Lorna Quantrill

And on July 15, the club will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its club house being completed with a summer ball in a marquee on the grounds.

The event, which is also raising funds for the club, will include a three-course dinner, live music from the D.C Wilson Band and entertainment from Britain's Got Talent finalist James Samuel.

Flyer of the 50th anniversary ball at Thetford Rugby Club

Flyer of the 50th anniversary ball at Thetford Rugby Club - Credit: Lorna Quantrill

Mrs Quantrill said: "We are actively looking to recruit new players for our teams, of which our first 15 play at national level 8.

"Anyone who has any interest in playing will be welcomed as part of our club with open arms, irrespective of experience and ability."

Those interested can contact Playrugbythetford@outlook.com or Mr Quantrill on 07845008141.

Tickets for the summer ball are £55 each. For more details contact Andy Soanes on 07825 150934 or danicasoanes@hotmail.co.uk

The car boot sale if from 9am every Sunday. For more contact the Facebook page - Thetford Rugby Club Car boot Sale, or call 07709 638071.