Rugby League Arrives in Winchester

Winchester RL joins Hampshire League

At last! Rugby League is coming to Winchester with the formation of “Winchester RL” and a new youth Rugby League team for this Summer 2014.

Winchester RL are starting off with the Under 12’s – “The Wessex Bears” – to train and then play in the new Hampshire Youth Rugby League competition which kicks-off in May 2014.

The club's organisers want to hear from new players at the under 12's age group – School years 6 and 7.
Winchester RL want interest at other ages and adults as well.

Anyone wishing to play or lend a hand or coach is encouraged to contact Winchester RL for full details. Email to David Thomson on or call Winchester City Council Sport development team on 01962 848 532 to speak to one of the team or leave a message.

Winchester will be training at the Devils Island rugby pitches at Winchester’s North Walls Recreation Ground, starting at 6pm on 27th March 2014 when qualified coaches will be on hand to provide guidance for anyone new to the game. Park at the Recreation Centre car park (free after 6pm) and come over to the rugby pitches or ask at the Recreation Centre reception for direction as there will be a team coach there to help.

Winchester RL club is the latest expansion of the sport in the region which already has clubs in Southampton, Portsmouth, Oxford and Swindon amongst others.

The Hampshire Youth League is based around a series of under 12's festivals that feed into a league table and an end of season play-off. Other attractions include a post season East v West test match and a knock-out sprint competition to find the league's fastest player.

There is a firm emphasis on player development and making training and match-days fun. Giving kids as much ball-in-hand time as possible, so players can really express themselves and show their skills.

It doesn't matter if you haven't played the game before; Wessex Bears' coaches will be on hand to ensure that learning the game is easy.

Training will be over the Summer and fixture festivals are monthly, held at a central Hampshire venue so travel is limited and players can develop their understanding of rugby league between festivals.

League spokesman Andy Moore welcomed the Wessex Bears to the Hampshire Youth Rugby League Association and explained that more clubs will follow in the coming weeks.

"Winchester RL is the first entirely new club to join the league but there are plans for sides in other areas of the county. We look forward to seeing how the Wessex Bears and Winchester Rugby League develop".

The head coach of Wessex Bears is Dave Thomson, a Winchester resident who gained his rugby league experience in Hull and Sheffield before settling in the Winchester area some 3 years ago.

Over the last few season's Thomson has coached rugby league at Southampton Spitfires where he has put his level two coaching badge to good use with their under 14's side before deciding to develop the game in Winchester.

Excited about the project's potential Thomson explained; "we are aiming to develop a competitive side and build a club Winchester can be proud of, but the main thing is that we want to include as many local kids as possible and really give them something they can enjoy being a part of. New players are more than welcome regardless of experience and we've kept the cost down to a minimum so come along, make some new friends and have a lot of fun".

If you want to try rugby league and are in school years 6 & 7 please ask your parent or guardian to contact Wessex Bears by email at or call Winchester Sports Development Team on 01962 848532.

You can also follow the league's progress on:


Winchester RL - Club page

Where next?

Coaching Opportunity Get Qualified and start a team
HYRL Shop: Now Open In partnership with Raging Bull Sportswear

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