DAVE GOODERHAM: I knew it was a club going places
I first stepped foot inside the Haberden five years ago – and I knew straight away it was a club going places. I met a committee member who was proud of what had already been achieved and fuelled with ambition about progressing further and further.
Fast forward five years and Bury Rugby Club have made history.
More than 1,000 people packed inside their home on Saturday to watch Bury win their last match of the season to clinch the National League 3 title.
In doing so, they became the first side in Suffolk ever to make it to the fourth tier of national rugby – a quite unbelievable feat.
But a deserved one for a club that devotes so much time to blossoming their youth policy and who relies, like any other sports club, on tireless and dedicated volunteers. Oh, how they must have enjoyed the incredible scenes on Saturday.
The club may have made the decision to go semi-professional, but that was inevitable given the standard of rugby they will be facing next season.
Knowing the men and women behind the scenes, I know for a fact they won’t forget where they have come from or ignore the importance of getting youngsters involved in rugby.
I am more of a football man, but I truly hope my sons try rugby and then make their own decisions.
I have seen for myself what a great sport it is. Yes, there is the incredible excitement and endeavour of a Six Nations match.
But at a grassroots level, it teaches young and old alike about so much more than sporting glory.
Whether it has been schoolboys hoping to turn professional or, dare I say, older gentleman still turning out for their local side, the one word that always sums up the sport for me is ‘respect’.
Respect for each other, their opponents, the referee and incredible respect for their club and their surroundings - knowing that if they don’t support their local team, it would simply fade away.
This respect is one reason why so many clubs have been blessed with some amazing volunteers who have have continued to support their local side through thick and thin and over many years.
Volunteers are the cornerstone of any sporting club.
Bury, like so many sides around West Suffolk, are fortunate to call upon the tireless support of ex-players, mums and dads or simply rugby fans to ensure their club continues and thrives.
For the volunteers, as much as the playing staff and fans of the Wolfpack, congratulations one and all. You deserve your success.