- Mellish and Southwell join forces to create Sherwood Barbarians
- Under 17 side halts player drain and provides regular competitive rugby
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Nottinghamshire rivals Mellish and Southwell have joined forced to keep teenagers playing rugby by forming the Sherwood Barbarians, a new side that is competing in the Notts, Lincs & Derbyshire Under 17 League.
Both clubs have successful junior sections but have seen players drift away to other clubs or stop playing rugby altogether once they reach the age of 16 or 17.
In an attempt to reverse the trend the two clubs agreed to field a joint Under 17 side to provide regular competitive rugby for teenagers in the hope that they will progress into senior rugby.
"From Mellish’s point of view we have struggled to get out an Under 17 side," explained Martyn Edson, vice-chairman of Mellish’s junior section.
"We’ve seen players that have come through our youth section go off to other clubs at 16 or 17 which means that they then go on to play their senior rugby elsewhere. If you are struggling to provide regular rugby at this age group then you find that players drift away and they can be lost to rugby.
"We were determined that wasn’t going to happen. We have good relations with Southwell, we have loaned each other players in the past and we decided to set up the Sherwood Barbarians to keep teenagers playing in the hope that they will continue to play for us and go on to play in our senior sides."
It has been a tough introduction for the Barbarians with matches against strong sides from Newark and Lincoln so far.
"We couldn’t have had a tougher introduction as those are probably the two strongest clubs in the league," Edson said.
"Hopefully things will get a bit easier from here but the important thing is that we are providing regular competitive rugby and keeping youngsters playing."