Sunday 25th June sees a third consecutive junior league game here at London Broncos and Trailfinders Sports Club.
The games over the past few weeks have proven that rugby league, as a sport, is well and truly alive in London and the South East and is a credit to the parents, coaches and the London Rugby League Foundation to see how many young boys are playing our game.
Paul Monk of the Bromley Bengals told us, “Bromley Bengals are a relatively new and growing club who have been playing rugby league in the London Borough of Bromley for the past two seasons (2015 & 2016).
“Last year was an extremely successful year for the club, with the under 15s reaching the grand final and the under 12s playing some excellent rugby, and establishing a solid foundation of a team in their first season of rugby league.
“The 2017 season sees the Bengals running two teams (under13s and under 16s), with both age groups attracting in excess of 25 registered players plus a dedicated group of coaches.”
The Bengals and rugby in the south east have had many guises over the past years. Starting out as Greenwich Admirals, moving to become the Charlton Gunners and now under the name of Bromley Bengals. Broncos player, Lewis Bienek, played for both Greenwich and Charlton under the watchful eye of dad Craig who also coached his son.
St Albans Centurions are another side thriving today, ably led by London Broncos season ticket holder Gary Tetlow, “The St Albans Centurions was established in 1996 by rugby league renegades myself and Ken Edwards, originally from St Helens and Darwin, Australia.
“Our first game was lost narrowly to a Hemel Hempstead development team. In 1997 the Centurions replaced the Ashford club in London League Division 2, and progressed to the second round of the knock-out competitions.
“Junior development started in 1998 when an under 13s team competed in a festival of rugby league and also in the London Junior Competition, whilst the senior team were accepted into the Rugby League Conference, where they finished runners-up in the Southern Division. The team was beaten in the semi-finals by the eventual winners, Crawley Jets.
“The team fielded a second team for the first time in 1999, and the first junior player graduated to the Open Age side.”
For those of you who have watched the junior league games, we are sure you will agree that with teams like Bromley, St Albans, Elmbridge, Eastern Rhinos, Medway, Brentwood, London Rugby League Foundation and the academy and scholarship programmes at the London Broncos, youth rugby league is thriving in the south and will continue to do so for a very long time to come.
Tickets for Sunday’s triple header can be purchased online here.