Northampton rugby club undergoing major renovations to benefit future

Old Scouts Rugby Football Club is an integral part of the town’s sporting community

Tuesday, 26th July 2022, 8:30 am
The rugby club's current under 14s team, who - alongside their families and friends - will benefit from the renovations.
The rugby club's current under 14s team, who - alongside their families and friends - will benefit from the renovations.

A well-renowned Northampton rugby club is undergoing renovations, which are expected to be finished in early September ahead of the new season.

The Northampton Old Scouts Rugby Football Club, which has been a fixture in Rushmere Road for many decades, has seen huge development from when their changing rooms began in a caravan onsite.

The renovations have been welcomed by their growing rugby community, which has produced two World Cup winners, a number of international honours, and the current England captain.

The works are estimated to finish at the beginning of September, ahead of the new rugby season, and the club is holding an event for past and current members to celebrate.

Chris Hillery the under 14s head coach and club committee member, who coordinates the mini and junior coaching from under 5s to under 16s, said: “I started playing at 10 and I’m 44 now so I’ve seen it all – back to the days when we got changed in an old caravan with a hole in the floor.

“After building changing rooms and later developing a club house, it’s now time to enhance our outdoor area – which is poor in comparison to everything else and what other clubs have to offer.”

They are working with partners and members to extend and improve it, and the outdoor area will become a large paved patio with a barbecue, planters, and seating, making it more enjoyable for everyone who attends and will be attractive to hire.

To celebrate the developments, there will be a formal opening in early September, and they hope to encourage as many players and members, past and present, to come along as possible – no matter their age.

Having always been a “very successful” club since it was formed in 1926, it remains the only club in the country to have produced two Rugby World Cup winners – Ben Cohen and Steve Thompson MBE, who won in 2003.

More recently, the current England captain Courtney Lawes, who also plays for the Northampton Saints, attended the club.

Chris said: “We are immensely proud of them, and they give an incentive to our younger players who want to make a career out of rugby and play at a higher level.

“It encourages them to be ambitious and aspire.”

Old Scouts is still in touch with the prestigious players who once attended the club – and they have been known to make visits or donate rugby memorabilia.

The club is an integral part of the Northampton sporting community and as rugby is a team sport, it was affected heavily by the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Despite the setbacks they were faced with, they put significant effort into keeping in touch with players and their families, checking on their welfare, and providing training videos.

Chris said: “We pride ourselves on being open to everyone. The experience and background of a person does not matter, as everyone is more than welcome.”

Old Scouts’ main aim is to create a “positive environment” and to not care solely for the players, but their families and carers too.

There is a strong emphasis on safeguarding, not just in terms of playing rugby, but ensuring the premises and community are as safe as they possibly can be too.