Sheffield junior rugby ‘underdogs’ appeal for help
Sheffield may be a football city but the game of rugby is beginning to win the hearts of the young children in the Steel City.
Children - some as young as four - look forward to their weekly training as they grow to love the team called Sheffield Hawks.
The U7 rugby team, founded two years ago, started with only three children as a sports group but now it has recruited a total of 25 children across Sheffield.
And going against much stronger sides in the junior rugby league, the children have proven that they are force to be reckoned with, although they do not really look the part.
Team manager Stacy Pyatt said the children have been donning plain rugby kits which were “the cheapest” they could find.
“We bought the plain t-shirts with a logo printed, it was the cheapest possible.
“They all got different socks, different shorts. They’re all matching colours though. They’re the underdog at the minute.”
She said as a less popular game compared to football, rugby does not get the recognition it deserves, often resulting in a lack of sponsorships.
The club’s chairman Craig Short said the club is currently run by volunteers and they have to dip into their own pockets to keep it going.
“Everything we have to buy with out own money, we have to fund it ourselves for our players and their parents also fund it.
“And as a new team like we are, we have got to buy training stuff, balls, tackle shields and all of this is quite substantial.
“It can cost us up to £2500 to get the team up and a running. Although the parents are okay with funding their money, we don’t want to keep relying on them,” he said.
The team’s coach, Scott Wallace also agreed that the children need to look like a “proper team” as a way to motivate them.
“They certainly want to look the part, some of the sides we have played against, they do look like a proper team, smartly dressed in matching suits and I think it is important for the kids to look like that,” he said.
And for this exact reason, the club have set up a fundraising page on Justgiving.com in September, but it has only raised £70 of their total target of £750.
Lisa Riches, the game day manager said: “We have been trying to raise funds but we haven’t managed to find any sponsorship as of yet. Many focus on football teams.”
Craig said the club is now trying to raise funds and look for sponsorships to keep the team running.
“We are now aiming to raise £1000 before the end of February or March next year, enough to buy us training gears and kits.
“We are also looking for any company - small, medium, or large - that wants us to look out for the 25 kids and put the smiles on their faces and help them,” he said.