Carlisle Colts

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CARLISLE COLTS 2009-10

Head Coach Mike Howe
Assistant Coach Paul Minnett
Assistant Coach Steve Harkness

Team Captain Tom Ritchie
Team Manager Phil Healy

We look forward to competing again in the Saturday Northern U18 league. The league is becoming a familiar rugby group and we look to great rugby and good time with our friends from Alnwick, Consett, Morpeth, Northern, Westoe, and Wigton; and this season renew acquaintance with Percy Park and welcome Billingham to the fold.  With occasional fixtures against Cumbrian and Scottish Border sides and Cup competitions it will again be busy and full season for Carlisle Colts!

This season we have a fresh coaching team in place as Phil Healy and Steve Alecock step down after many years successful service. Phil will maintain links with the team in a managerial capacity.

2008-9 Season Review

2008-9 was another successful season in the recent history of Carlisle Colts. In the main it was about playing rugby and fulfilling fixtures, but along the way we had a lot of fun, reached three Cup finals, and developed players for senior rugby.

We primarily played at U18 level and finished mid-table in the Saturday Northern Championship; at U18 level we also reached the County Cup Cup final but lost out to Wigton on the day. We fielded an occasional U17 side for cup competitions and won also reached the County final at this level, but lost to Penrith. In the National U17 Plate competition we battled through the Northern Section final but lost, again against Penrith; it was notable that from the six Northern counties it was two Cumbrian sides that won through to the final!

In all, some 42 players were utilised over the course of the season. We scored 91 tries, thus averaging over three per game. Another great season, enjoyed by many!


Could you be a Colts sponsor?

OK, lets be honest for a moment. We are doing this because we love the game; financial reward and benefit may come in the future, but is not guaranteed!

However, we can offer you exposure. Pictures in the local press, acknowledgement in match reports, your name on our shirts and training tops. And I am sure there are some innovative ways we can come up with to promote you further.

In addition, the Club can, by arrangement, be used as an entertainment venue for your clients, particularly on a match day.

What do We Need

Any kind of support is appreciated! But we do need significant financial support to support the programme. It is going to be expensive to do what we want to do. The cost of transport is particularly excessive as we have to travel significant distances to get quality fixtures. To be a successful team we need to look and behave like one and the cost of kit and medical supplies is also high.

A Partnership

Working together we can achieve our goals, support the sport we love, and perhaps have some fun along the way. Players, administrators, supporters, and sponsors – we all have our role to play.

No promises- except that we will have an enjoyable if roller coaster ride!


A Short Potted History of Carlisle Colts

Carlisle Colts first appeared in the late 1970s as a response to the decline of rugby in schools and the need for the Club to produce its own talent. The driving force behind this development was Cyril Hankey.  By the early 1980s the side had established a formidable reputation across the North of England. Highlight of these early years was the 1983 side, many of whom were part of the Cumbria County team that won the Colts County Championship beating Devon in the final at Carlisle in front of a partisan home crowd. Of that team John Orr went on to captain England in that seasons Colts International Championship.

The Colts became part of the fabric of the Club. Dave Rawlings took over the running of the side in the mid 1980s, assisted and followed by Ray Singleton, Keith Hall, and Tim Bradbury. A strong fixture list became firmly established and the Colts became the major supplier of players for the Club’s senior sides. Mark Bradley, Colin Jackson, Paul Singleton, Martin Plummer, Simon Little, Lee Wall, and Ally Bell were among the names that played for the Colts.

The success the team had was not really reflected in the silverware return. There were numerous County Cup Final appearances at U17 and U19 level, but we always seemed to be runners-up! The success of the side was seen in the success of more senior Club sides in the late 1980s and early 1990s: two league titles for the 1st XV, two Shield triumphs for the 2nd XV, and the U21 County Cup success of 1988.

By the mid 1990s, however, the team was not playing as regularly and by the late 1990s the side had disappeared from the Club fixture list. Mini and Junior rugby was beginning to take off, but the Club just couldn’t seem to get a regular Colts side going. Part of this was due to the increase in higher education uptake and that many of Carlisle’s school leavers were moving away from the area to go to University. Colts had been run largely for the U19s age group and it became difficult to find enough players.

It was Phil Healy who along with Sandy Butler took up the challenge of re-establishing the Colts team. In 2001-02 their was enough of a player base, largely because of the Junior sections activities to justify the re-introduction of a full fixture programme but at U18 level rather than the U19s of previous seasons. That first year was a struggle, but with the addition of Dave Cowgill to the coaching team as Head Coach in 2002-03 and a strong squad of players coming through the programme really began to take off.

Success soon followed and the side won through to the inaugural Northern U18 Championship Final where unfortunately we lost; that experience was repeated in 2003-04. In 2005-6 we again reached the final and shared the trophy following a thrilling 27-27 tie with Percy Park; our equalizing score coming with the last kick of the game! The format of the competition has since changed and our Colts now play in the Saturday Northern Colts League. In 2006-7 we were runners-up behind Blaydon and in 2007-8 again runners up this time behind Penrith.

We have also had County Cup success. At U17 level we recorded our first successes with a County Cup win in 2002-03 and retained the trophy in 2003-04. In 2007-8 we were also finalists, losing to Penrith. At U18s the 2007-8 squad capped there season with the County Cup win over Wigton to become the first Carlisle Colts side to lift that impressive trophy.

Since 2001 a number of players have made the transition to senior rugby; This years 1st XV squad includes Max Connon, Matt Davis, and Chris Harris from last years Colts and from prior years Mark Allen, Mark Barron, Ben Blain, Aidan Day, George Graham, Tom Graham, Martin Grealish, Dan Holmes, Matt Rodgers are amongst the names that appear in our 1st XV squad. Colts from the earlier era include Paddy McDonnell and current club captain Stephen Stamper. The Crusaders and Hornets also have a significant number of former Colts. Others have continued in the game but at other clubs, but remembered all the same. The 1st XV  go into their fourth season at North 2 (Level 6) after their promotion and the Crusaders are an improving CANDY League side. Graduates of the Colts have made a significant contribution to our senior sides recent success!


The Future

Carlisle Colts are at a crucial stage in their development. We have been lucky in having an exceptional group of players over the past few years that has helped us establish a formidable reputation. A good few of these have now moved on, and we are now looking to a fresh generation.

We have a good base; the general strength of Junior rugby within the Club is excellent.

We have an excellent coaching team headed by Mike Howe, with Paul Minnett and Steve Harkness providing expert support. A strong fixture list against the top North of England and Scottish Border sides provides the challenge. Competition wise we continue in the Saturday Northern U18 Championship and will again be looking to challenge at the top. Cup competitions in the National U17s and County U17s and U18s provide further challenges.

But it is more than just about the forthcoming season. We want to establish a framework for continuing success in future years. From this we provide for the Senior Club a pool of players that we hope will form the basis of a successful 1st XV and other Senior sides. The player base is there; it is us as coaches, administrators, and supporters that must rise to the challenge.