Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Back to Their Best; Acklam at Full Strength

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Back to Their Best; Acklam at Full Strength

Article excerpt

Byline: By CHRIS HOLE

ACKLAM Rugby Union Club is once again looking to the future.

The club will be represented in the coming season by the largest number of junior teams since an arson attack devastated the club in 1993.

Before the fire, the club, which is based at Talbot Park, Saltersgill Avenue, was able to boast a number of hugely talented young teams.

But the attack crippled the club, which was unable to keep its junior sides running after the incident.

Now, after years of rebuilding, the club's new breed of youngsters are set to launch a new assault on the rugby world.

And next season they will be represented at each junior level from Under-11 to Under-17 and also in tag rugby.

"We were doing really well in the early days and had a lot of talented players," the club's junior chairman, Jim Ward, said.

"When the club was burned down it was a massive blow.

"But now, after years of rebuilding, it's all about the future."

And Jim believes that with their current crop of enthusiastic youngsters the future of the club is once again looking bright.

"I'm really optimistic," Jim added.

"I've been involved with the juniors for a long time and it's because of their enthusiasm for the game. They all really enjoy it and it's easy to get them playing."

The club have been lucky enough to benefit from a hugely successful partnership with the University of Teesside.

The university agreed to a long-term lease for the club's pitches and also agreed to build the club's pavilion which houses 12 changing rooms and a bar.

And with the recent erection of a large perimeter fence around their four pitches and state-of-the-art floodlights, the club now has the facilities in place to match their ambition on the field.

"The facilities are fantastic," club chairman, Ray Kelly, said.

"The university has been great. …

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