Can Rugby League fill that void for our sporting youngsters?
PUBLISHED: 12:51 21 March 2013 | UPDATED: 12:51 21 March 2013
Steve Davis is looking to get the kids of Newham out on the fields and playing regular sport
Steve Davis is on a mission to get the youngsters of Newham and Tower Hamlets out of their bedrooms and on to the fields with a rugby league ball in their hands.
Not that Steve Davis. There is no green baize, pockets and snooker cues for this Aussie, he is strictly an outdoor activity guy and he thinks that is something that is severely lacking in the area.
“What I have noticed about the area and Newham in particular, is that there is a serious lack of sporting activities,” said Davis, who as East London Project manager for the London Broncos RL team, is in charge of expanding the game in this area.
“There are one off sporting events, but the opportunities for youngsters to join sporting clubs is severely limited in the area and we are looking to do something about that.”
They have already started with the founding of a new team last year called the Newham Dockers and this year they are expanding with 65 youngsters already registered, but Davis is hoping for many more.
“We go into the schools in Newham and Tower Hamlets to try and attract players by showing them what a great game rugby league is,” he said.
“It is so simple to pick up and it is a game that is designed for anyone of any size to play. The little nippy player can play alongside the bigger guys and both can be equally effective.”
After last season’s tender beginnings, this summer they are fielding teams at under-12, under-14, under-16 and under-19 level, so there are plenty of opportunities for new blood to come into the club.
“All of our players were new to the game last year and they have learned so fast. We have also recruited some boys from rugby union and they have quickly adapted and there is some real talent there,” said Davis.
“We think we can turn talented athletes into rugby league players and the mix we have got at the Dockers has been really good. There is a real multi-cultural feel about the place and that is what we wanted to see.”
Newham Dockers have ambitious plans, but first and foremost for Davis it is about getting the kids out there and playing.
“We are a family club first and foremost,” he said. “We enjoy it win, lose or draw and it is somewhere where the kids can come down to in a safe environment. We can go to places as far afield as Southampton.”
Training for the youngsters takes place every Wednesday at 4.30pm at their ground at Memorial Park, Holland Road, West Ham, E15 3BP, where they also play their home games.
Anyone from Year Eight and above is welcome to go along on a Wednesday.
If you are younger than that and still want to have a go, ring Steve Davis on 07712 895954 for details of opportunities for you.