Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Rugby Union: Table Toppers Aiming Higher; PETER GRIFFITHS Throws the Spotlight on the Local Rugby Scene

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Rugby Union: Table Toppers Aiming Higher; PETER GRIFFITHS Throws the Spotlight on the Local Rugby Scene

Article excerpt

Byline: PETER GRIFFITHS

THE region's No 1 rugby club - that's an honour which could soon be bestowed upon Billingham.

Promoted to North Two East last year and guided by a Saint in the shape of ex- Northampton and England Under-21 international Chris Hyndman, they are currently runaway leaders in the division.

Enthusiasm could almost be bottled under the Greenwood Road brand - it flows everywhere.

The club's businessmen devote hundreds of volunteer hours. Supporters back up, organise and deliver.

The club boasts its 85th birthday next year and it's jokingly claimed that certain founder members are still around.

They will know who they are but they are certainly not feisty old grumps ready to criticise and grumble - quite the opposite really with one recently winning a regional sports award.

On match days steward Ken Potts struts around checking, chattering and confirming with a benevolent smile on his face.

In fact he is the kind of guy from whom you certainly would buy a used car but his mission in life is to feed and water the rugby folk with their kind of special menu and guest beers.

First team manager Chris Ker supplied the low-down. "The club's very upbeat - it's going places it has never been before. Everyone's positive - we are on a roll.

"The links between the players and the committee are the best ever.

"Chairman Mark Armstrong and secretary Keith Blenkinsopp are both tireless.

"They are for ever looking to the future and are currently developing repairs and replacement for areas of the clubhouse that look a bit shabby after being open for eight years.

"We would still desperately like to purchase an artificial surface but costs are the problem at the moment and it would have to be used pretty much all the time with other sports coming in too. …

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