Sunday, 11 August 2013

My club Trafford MV

I have covered a lot of rugby topics in the past 18 months of blogging. It is impossible to comment on every rugby event so I try to focus on the ones which are most interesting to me. There is, however, one topic which I hardly touched on at my blog although it is very close to my heart. I’m thinking about grassroots rugby. There are many amateur rugby clubs in UK, most of them with great tradition and history. These clubs are the essence of rugby as they continue to produce players with great rugby ethic and often have strong roots in communities involving whole families to participate in local rugby events. Today I’m going to introduce you to one of the friendliest amateur clubs, which I’m lucky to play for – Trafford MV.

I am a fairly new member of the club and it will be my third season in black and white stripes. The club itself has long and interesting history. Trafford MV is based in Sale, Cheshire, and has rugby, cricket and touch rugby teams for adults and children of every age group and level of ability. There are currently three senior teams playing in North-West leagues. This, combined with a friendly, welcoming environment makes the club an excellent place to train, play and socialise. 

Beginnings - Metrovicks
The club was originally formed on the 2nd of May 1923 by a group of 17 apprentices at a heavy electrical engineering company called Metropolitan Vickers also known as Metrovick or Metrovicks. Their factory in Trafford Park, Manchester, was for most of the 20th century one of the biggest and most important heavy engineering facilities in Britain and the world. 

Within four years of forming, the club was fielding four rugby XV's. Originally wearing an all black strip, in the 1927/28 season, the club changed its colours to the black and white hoops and white shorts which remained unchanged up till now. During these early years, the club was based in Chorlton cum Hardy but in 1934 it purchased land off Glebeland’s Road in Sale next to banks of River Mersey and never moved again.

During the War Years and the cancellation of all pre-arranged fixtures, Metrovick found itself to be a Mecca for Servicemen on leave, along with the many people engaged in engineering work in Trafford Park, and its playing numbers were increasing week on week. 

In 1945 club chairman R.D.B. Lauder retired after 22 years in which he had overseen the club's development, which was now going from strength to strength. A great debt is owed to the club's first chairman for the hard work that he put in which laid the solid foundations that today's club is built on.

Development after the war 
Over the years, with regular help from the company, the club upgraded its playing facilities to 4 full size rugby pitches and 2 cricket squares. The playing side of the club continued to develop after the war, with players staying loyal to the club. Whilst the rugby section continued to play in friendly matches and gained an excellent reputation.

There are other significant years in MV's history. In 1980, the club ground was renamed MacPherson Park, in respect to one of its long serving members, Jim MacPherson who had passed away earlier in the year. 
In 1985, with the onset of professionalism in the game and the promotion of structured rugby leagues, the rugby section joined the Girobank League, and was immediately successful in claiming the championship.

Name change
The final most important development in MV's history happened when the club changed its name. As the decline in the engineering function at the company (now GEC Ltd) became more and more significant, the close ties of the early days between club and company were becoming less and less. In 1993, as the club had no further ties with Metrovick, and along with the desire to promote the club within its more regional surroundings, it changed its name to Trafford MV RFCC. This was the end of a long association with Metrovicks, and as a mark of our past history, the MV was kept in the name.

Famous players, coaches and Sale Sharks
The club has continued develop year on year, and it boasts a fine tradition of sporting excellence. The club is proud to state that Dylan O'Grady who played for Sale and Ireland and Steve Diamond former Sale Sharks player and currently Director of Rugby at Sale Sharks, were previous members of junior section and senior teams. This is not where club’s association with Sale ends. In 1997, Sale have moved their training centre to the club and MV have also hosted the All Blacks national side for training sessions prior to the rugby internationals, as well as hosting Pau Rugby Club from France prior to European Cup games at Sale.

Club’s playing surface is now one of the best in the area, which has been proved by the levels of rugby teams that continue to use facilities. The club also has a fully floodlight rugby pitch and training area, which ensures that players can train deep into the late hours if they so desire, or dependant on how bad they performed on the Saturday. Lancashire RFU regularly use the Club as a coaching centre for South Lancs clubs.

The club is massively proud of its mini/junior section, which is the envy of all clubs in the area and caters for circa 300 youngsters and boasts over 50 CRB checked coaches. It’s from the junior section that the core of the current rugby 1st XV comes – this season newly appointed Captain Patrick Eccles is a prime example having been at the Club since he was 4 years old. MV’s hopes for the new season are high. Promotion is the target with a longer term aim of being firmly established at the higher level with the club becoming an attraction for the stronger amateur Rugby players from in and around Greater Manchester.

The Club continues to evolve having earned RFU/ECB/Sport England support to build new changing/shower/gym facilities – recent clubhouse refurbishments make socialising more fun. Recent funding of £50k to upgrade pitch drainage and grass cover has been approved and further plans are in the pipeline to build a Community Room extension which will provide better facilities for mini/junior players, catering, functions as well as allowing the Club to offer better amenities to the neighbouring community. 

Nowadays, I don’t have as much time for rugby as I would like, but I am proud to be part of Trafford MV. Playing for this club and wearing a jersey which represents great tradition is an honour and privilege. For those who look for a friendly club with fantastic atmosphere I highly recommend joining Trafford Metrovick RFCC – you won’t be disappointed!

Please take a minute to look at club's website at - and even become one of our supporters – or better still one of our players!