- Rugby thriving in Shropshire town
- Big crowd expected at Leek for regional final
Bridgnorth are thriving on the back of the best national cup run in the Shropshire club’s history.
Bridgnorth are just two games away from an appearance in a Twickenham final having reached the Midlands final of the RFU Intermediate Cup for the first time.
They will make the trip to Leek’s Esterchem Park on Saturday, March 15 for the Midlands final with a place in the national semi-finals at stake, cheered on by a sizeable travelling support.
“It’s a big thing for the town. People I work with who have no interest in rugby have been coming up and saying: we hear you’ve got through to the final, good luck,” said Bridgnorth captain, Dan Griffiths.
“A lot of people are making the journey up to Leek for what will be the biggest match in the club’s history, a regional final with the chance of going on to play at Twickenham.
“The cup run has generated a lot of interest in the club and the place is thriving at the moment. We had 110 players playing for the club last weekend and we have been able to put out a fifth team because of the number of players we have now.
“That’s on the back of the success we are having. It’s raised our profile, generated lots of interest and people are taking notice of how well we are doing.”
Bridgnorth know plenty about Leek, having suffered two narrow league defeats to their Midlands Two West (North) rivals already this season.
“Leek beat us by two points and three points so there hasn’t been much between us,” Griffiths said.
The nucleus of Bridgnorth’s squad is home grown, including Griffiths, a hooker, who first played for the club as a nine-year-old.
But the squad has been reinforced this season by former Dudley Kingswinford full back Simon Fletcher, ex-Ludlow number eight Darren Brick, former Old Halesonians fly half Dave Hadkiss and Will Crossley, a centre who moved into the area through work.
Brothers Dale and Bryan Smallman form Bridgnorth’s coaching team with Dale, who previously coached at Dudley Kingswinford, as director of rugby and Bryan as head coach.
Last season the pair guided Bridgnorth to North Midlands Shield success, where they beat Droitwich in the final at Dudley Kingswinford which, until this Saturday, was the biggest match in the club’s history.