Undefeated Buxton RUFC are having a season to savour.
A 71-2 thumping of Cleethorpes on Saturday was Buxton’s 12th consecutive win of the campaign and they look nailed on to claim promotion from Midlands Division Four East (North).
But, while the seniors are going from strength to strength, director of rugby Karl de Groot has one eye on the future and is keen for the club to increase its numbers in the junior ranks.
Buxton boast a healthy youth set-up with teams from the under-7s to the under-15s, however, it was while watching a match in January against Ashbourne that de Groot highlighted an issue.
“There are lots of positives around the club,” he said. “Results are going really well for the seniors at the moment. We are flying high at the top of the league, unbeaten and we’re in to the last 16 of a national cup with a chance to go and play at Twickenham.
“We are one of the best sides nationally, in my opinion, and we want to build on that.
“We’re fortunate enough to have had an influx of players from Derby University, with the campus at the Dome, and in the last few seasons we’ve been feeding off that for as long as the players are in town. One or two have stayed behind and continued to play after their studies have finished.
“If we took them out of the set-up we would be struggling. The sides we come up against are dependent on players in their 40s and 50s but we have an average age of 21 because of the young lads from the university. It masks the reality a little bit.
He added: “I went to watch the under-15s play against Ashbourne and our team only had seven players - they came with about 20. They have a natural feed of children going in to the clubs from surrounding schools whereas we don’t have that to the same degree.
“I wanted to try and stimulate an interest in the sport for young teenagers who might not have thought about giving it a go or might not know how to start up.”
The club’s under-13s and 15s train on Thursday nights at Sunnyfields, on Harpur Hill, from 5-6pm and 6-7pm respectively and de Groot, an ex-pro for Northampton, explained what new comers can expect.
“We do a lot of rugby-orientated games depending on their age groups,” he said. “We have some great facilities and the club house has just been refurbished in July and August of last year.”