Washington RFC set to play first game on new pitch at £18million sports development - with Newcastle Falcons there to show support
A Wearside rugby club is set to begin a fresh chapter in its history - with the first game on their new pitch.
Washington Rugby Football Club will test out the impressive new ground at the Northern Area Playing Fields, with players from Newcastle Falcons set to be in attendance to show their support and look around the new facilities.
The new pitch is part of Sunderland City Council’s £18million Parklife project, building three new sport hubs in the city, and will feature floodlights, changing rooms and a bar and social club.
The match, against Sunderland RFC, will be the first of many at the new complex and Club Chairman Oliver Clewes is excited for what the future holds.
He said: “I have to pinch myself constantly. We’re used to having to rely on others for a pitch but this is a real game changer.
“After a couple of hard seasons, this year we are going to see a massive change for us and an incredible opportunity for us to grow the club and also hopefully get people in to rugby.”
The club’s new home is a World Rugby Compliant all Grass Pitch (AGP) - the latest in artificial surfaces and is a big change for Washington players, who are used to playing on rundown, muddy pitches.
The club is hoping the new pitch is a stepping stone to growing in the future and can encourage more people to get involved in rugby in what Oliver Clewes describes as a ‘football dominated area.’
“For us it’s huge to have this opportunity for the club to get an identity, single location rather than the nomadic status of recent years.”
The club are also hoping the new pitch will have a big impact on their future, with a long term ambition of starting youth teams and creating an infrastructure for teams of the future.
Oliver Clewes added: “Youth teams are definitely a long term future ambition and hopefully this is a big step towards that.”
Washington RFC will play their first game at the new Northern Area Playing Fields against Sunderland RFC on Stephenson Road on Saturday, November 16 with kick off at 3pm.