Walking rugby is growing in popularity through the UK and has now arrived in Lincolnshire, with a group set up in Sutton-on-Sea earlier this year. Sutton Sea Dogs play at Sutton Rovers FC. In this blog some members of the group share why they are passionate about this inclusive sport, and how the club came to be set up.
“The sport provides participants with the opportunity to enjoy a social, physically active, healthy activity. It is a slower, non-contact version of rugby beneficial to people of all ages, abilities and genders whether or not they have played the game before. The emphasis is on team work, fun, and enjoyment. and individuals can play at their own fitness levels.” says Sea Dogs member Mike Warren.
The sessions came about following a conversation between local leisure provider Magna Vitae and Dave Price. Dave says “I’ve played rugby at various levels since the age of 13 and a few years ago dropped in on a local walking rugby club and fell in love with walking rugby – the togetherness, the fitness, fun and friendships. The game is non contact form but keeps all the same attributes of the game, -the attack, pass and finding gaps. The walking pace means it’s very inclusive and I’ve seen many people from many backgrounds increase their fitness, self confidence and wellbeing through taking part. I wanted to create a walking rugby group but did not know where to start; that’s where Paul Bryson’s support has been unbelievable. He helped set up this group which has eventually become known as Sutton Sea Dogs.”
Paul Bryson from Magna Vitae commented “Dave had the vision and certainly had the energy to develop something from nothing in the Mablethorpe/Sutton on Sea area, using a sport which he has a passion for and much playing experience. He wanted to start up Walking Rugby offering an opportunity for the local residents to try something ‘New’ and at the same time encourage more people over 18 to become more physically active playing a sport which would not be too demanding.”
Dave spoke to the RFU about setting sessions up and was given equipment by the RFU to help move things forward, this well before any venue and/or sessions were set.
Magna Vitae secured a suitable outdoor venue with the sessions taking place on the Sutton on Sea Playing Fields Association site, the home of Sutton Rovers FC and both of these organisations have been very supportive of the aim from the outset. Magna Vitae helped with the marketing, producing a poster and send a member of staff each week to support the sessions, which started in early July and will run through to the end of November, when the weather is likely to become cooler, wetter and more wintery. The plan after this, is to either move indoors or to have a short break over the winter months and restart in 2024.
Numbers are developing slowly and those who attend the Saturday mornings sessions are now known as the Sutton Sea Dogs and they want to develop into a fully constituted Club/Group.
Feedback from members
As newcomer to Sutton on Sea the walking rugby is a great way to meet new friends. Being an ex amateur rugby league player, this is fantastic to handle the rugby ball again, without the tackles and scrums, making it ideal for everyone from 18 to 80+. Even though the club is for people over 18, its great to see people from a vast age range already joining in the fun and being part of the club.
David Tatt – Sutton Sea Dog player
I have recently joined a walking Rugby group in Sutton on sea. Being over 60 I was looking for something to join as a team but not too strenuous. My first session was great I took my time as its walking and throwing and catching the ball. Having never played Rugby before I have started to thoroughly enjoy being part of this. Its great exercise and being able to go at your own pace as well. The group are very welcoming and everyone is made to feel welcome. The benefits for me is the exercise and the social aspect. I would encourage anyone who wants to get fitter and healthier that this ticks all the boxes.
Ann Powell Sutton Sea Dog player.
Find out about other walking sports across the county here