Many of you will have heard about the reputation of Matson RFC and will no doubt have heard them referred to as “Matscum” in the past.
As a parent who thought exactly the same thing and would never have considered placing my boys in the club, had it not been for a friend who was starting an age group for my elder son, where he could play with his friends, the club would have never been on my radar. Some 10 years later, I now have two boys coming up through the ranks, I am Hon Secretary, Head of the Mini and Junior Section and Team Manager of the U16s and what I would say to parents with children looking to start with a local rugby team is ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’.
The club is located in one of the less desirable areas of Gloucester and many people focus on this rather than what the club has to offer. We have made every effort, over the years, to rid the club of its bad reputation and focus on the core values that the RFU prides itself on: Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship. We pride ourselves on the behaviour of all of our teams in the Mini and Junior section and receive regular praise from other teams.
Just one of the many positive comments received last season;
“Dear Matson U15s and Club Exec. It might not be very rugby to send this, however praise where praise is due is my philosophy. I think it would be fair to say that as a club you have somewhat of a reputation, well, perhaps today your U15s showed what that should be. We lost to you last season in the U14’s GRFU plate final and welcomed you back today, trepidatious perhaps, ready for it no doubt. WHAT A GAME!! Your lads acquitted themselves brilliantly, on and off the field, a real pleasure to watch, enjoy and a fitting end to the U15s season. Though you as a club should know, we look forward to the ’best of 3’ come next year…”
We look to offer back to the community by providing a safe environment for children to learn new skills and forge lifelong friendships. We aim to provide a sense of belonging and friendship to players and parents alike. All our coaches and officials are screened and DBS checked.
As a club, we struggle to attract new members across all age groups and our U12s and U16s are particularly struggling for numbers at present, mainly we believe due to the reputation that, no matter what we achieve, we are still judged by. I know we are not the only club in this situation and many other local clubs have seen age groups folding due to lack of numbers.
Matson has gained mainly achievements over the Years and have produced some excellent players who have been selected to play for England and Gloucester. More recently our 1XV played at Twickenham last year in the Intermediate Cup Final. They also, along with our 2XV and 3XV also played at Kingsholm in the Combination Cup and our U17s won the County Cup for the 3rd consecutive year. Many of our younger players are also in the Gloucester Developing the Player Programme.
Our U12, 13s, 15s and 16s train on a Wednesday night 6.30pm until 7.30pm and play games on a Sunday.
Our U11s train/play every Sunday and our U6/7s train three Sundays per month.
If your child is looking to start rugby, no matter what age (U6s upwards) or experience, we cater for all and I would urge you to give us a go; you will most definitely be pleasantly surprised, as I was.
We need to keep rugby alive at grass roots level and hopefully, with the coverage of the Rugby World Cup, many clubs will see an intake of young people looking to take part in this sport.