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Home > News > North quartet are QBE President's XV winners
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Your News North quartet are QBE President's XV winners

FOUR Northern Rugby Union clubs have each earned 500 in prize money having been chosen as section winners in the Rugby Football Union's QBE President's XV Awards for 2010.

The 15 top awards, plus 30 runners-up prizes of 100, recognise and reward clubs around the country for their innovative thinking in a variety of areas aimed at promoting and developing the game.

As RFU President John Owen says: "There are so many rugby folk out there coming up with the most amazing schemes and projects to combat these difficult times and keep the game vibrant in their community.

"We've had a record entry this year, which is always gratifying because it underlines the extent to which club volunteers are working hard at developing and progressing our game.

Sponsored for the first time this year by specialist business insurer QBE, the awards recognise a wide variety of schemes and projects, some of which come from clubs who are just starting out in the game and others from established organisations.

Acton Nomads RFC from Nantwich, for example, are the newest rugby club in the North West and they carried off the This is Rugby Section award as the club which best epitomises the core values of the game. They were founded in May 2009 and were accepted into Division Five South of the Miller Homes Leagues this season. Playing at Barony Park and entertaining visitors at the nearby Red Lion Hotel, the Nomads embrace the traditional grassroots approach to the game.

The club has created an inclusive and encouraging structure, with their membership including players and supporters who have a lengthy experience of rugby and others who are new to the game.

While the Nomads were getting started down the Wirral at Nantwich, at the same time Birkenhead Park Panthers were being launched and they have emerged as the Girl Power Section winners having moved forward very quickly from an initial attendance of 30 at their inaugural meeting.

In May 2009 Birkenhead Park decided to introduce a women's team to complement the development of the club's junior section and fill a significant gap in the local rugby landscape. Most of the 30 people who turned up for the first meeting had no prior connection to the club or, indeed, the sport, but the Panthers have already played eight games to ensure their inclusion in the RFUW league structure next season.

Completing a hat trick of President's XV successes for Cheshire at Lymm RFC, who have won the Fund Raising Section after a five-year period of fund-raising to extend their playing facilities has produced 900,000 in revenue.

This was funded the acquisition of 10 acres of land that has been developed into three new pitches and a mini-rugby area. This fundraising marathon has involved all parts of the club's membership. Donations have played a significant part, but other successful projects have included an annual Lymm "Grass Roots" Ball, the now legendary Lymm Pantomime and from the very junior end, an U10s scheme involving players filling a Smartie tube with 20p pieces.

Having finished runners-up in the Seal of Approval Club of the Year Section in 2008/9, Keswick RFC claimed the award this year, although it says much for their hard-pressed volunteers that they even had time to enter.

The year was one of triumph as well as adversity for the Cumbrian club and their elevation to top spot is a fitting tribute to all the workers at Davidson Park. With over 250,000 raised towards pitch drainage and floodlighting, a new girls' tournament attracting 400 players, six new Level 1 coaches, six new ELRA referees and four new committee members being recruited, 'business as usual' has been proceeding at the club which underlines the tremendous spirit at this RU outpost, where flooding is an ever-present menace.

"We are absolutely delighted with the award, which is not only for the rugby club, but also reflects on the support we get from the wider community and especially the Cumbria Rugby Development team." says club spokesman Dave Etherden: "The prize money will be put to good use. We've just installed new floodlights, so it will pay for a few hours usage!"

All four clubs will shortly be presented with their plaques and cheques in the coming weeks, with Keswick getting a visit from the President of the RFU, John Owen, on April 7, 2010. Gill Burns, President of the Rugby Football Union for Women, will do the honours at Lymm on April 28, 2010 and at Birkenhead Park on May 30, 2010, while RFU Junior Vice-President Willie Wildash will be on duty at Acton Nomads on May 21, 2010.

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