StewMel Lions

Currie-photo-4The Stew Mel Lions is a junior rugby club whose aims are to promote rugby. We are very closely affiliated with Stewart’s Melville Rugby Club (the “Senior Club”) and although we also have strong links with Stewart’s Melville College (the school) we are a club which is open to all kids from P1 to P7 whether they attend the school or not. We believe in fair play, respect for all players, coaches and opposition teams and having lots of fun! Central to our approach is the fact that rugby is a late development sport – at this tender age we don’t know who are going to be the superstars of the future. As a result we do not “stream” our kids but seek to give everyone an equal opportunity to participate in training and matches irrespective of their stage of development.

We have circa 250 kids and 50 “hard-working” (!) coaches. There are also 20 tournaments organised for the coming Season at multiple age grade levels including 2 home Round Robins and a home tournament, so there should be ample opportunity for all kids to be involved. We train and play our home tournaments at the Inverleith playing pitches on Ferry Road at 1.00pm on Sundays, starting from Sunday 30th August.

Who are the Stew Mel Lionesses?

Rugby is for girls too (!) and we are no exception – the Stew Mel Lionesses are an integral part of our club. The girls train at the same time and in the same place as the Boys at Inverleith. The time is split between working on skills and playing a full game, with the girls mixed to ensure that they all get a fair chance to participate. Last season’s highlights included the girls joining in a mixed touch rugby game as a curtain-raiser for the 1st XV, but we have a wide range of ages and abilities and all are welcome.

It’s great fun, it helps the girls learn a new sport and it develops complementary skills for other sports they may be playing. As part of the club’s support of the development of girls’ rugby we operate on a subs-free basis, so why not come along and give it a try? If you have any questions please contact Simon Baig on simonmqb@gmail.com.

What is the “Academy?”

The Academy picks up where the Lions ends, effectively from S1 onwards. The SRU has been concerned by the fall in the number of players during teenage years and especially when leaving school. They are also concerned that boys can be playing too much rugby if playing for both a School and a Club and the Academy has been set up with this in mind – to support the further development of the boys without putting their bodies under strain.

We have worked to ensure that the Academy can complement school rugby programmes: to that end we have organised a limited number of high quality fixtures, top class coaching sessions from current professional players and high performance coaches as well as sessions focussed on individual player well-being. The Academy, like the Lions & the Senior Club is open and will be actively encouraging all boys from all schools to join. If you have any questions please contact Ralph Campbell at ralphcampbell67@gmail.com.

Co-ordination with the “Senior” Stew Mel Rugby Club

The arrival of Bruce Ruthven as Rugby Co-ordinator for the Lions, the Academy, Stewart’s Melville school and the Senior Club last year reinvigorated our co-operative approach. While the vast majority of our coaches / referees are parents who give their time selflessly, we have also been working with Bruce to prepare a detailed Season Plan for 2015 / 16 and to schedule specialist training sessions.

Bruce has recently returned from New Zealand where he worked with the Canterbury Crusaders to learn from both their senior team and academy, exposing him to some of the best rugby coaching from school through to professional level. Bruce is also our main point of contact with the SRU and runs a number of highly successful rugby holiday camps at Inverleith.

The Lions Open Day

Sunday 6th September at 1.00pm at Inverleith – block out your diaries now! The Open Day is free, open to all and intends to draw in as many kids as possible. Fun, rugby-orientated games for the kids will be organised by Bruce and run by volunteers from the Senior Club and year-group coaches. As mentioned the Lions is an open club and all kids with an interest in playing are very welcome to join in, while parents are welcome to watch and enjoy a coffee or some hot food. There is even a rumour going around that the coaches are going to “show the kids how it’s done” (!) with a brief coaches touch rugby tournament. Scary!

New Lions Kit Supplier

In order to improve the range of kit available to coaches, players and parents we are changing supplier from Zoo to underarmour. The “new” under armour kit (NB final kits won’t have numbers on the back) is identical to the existing Zoo strips which can still be used and passed down through the year groups – there is therefore no need to buy any new kit for the new Season. The new kit will be available for purchase from October onwards from www.rugbystuff.com or First XV at Haymarket, or you can buy immediately from the limited remaining Zoo stock at Aitken & Niven. If you don’t have a Lions shirt don’t be put off – just come along, see how much fun it is, then buy the shirt later on !

Communication with the Lions

With such a vibrant club and so much going on it is hard to keep track of it all. The website has had a revamp with separate sections for the Seniors, Lions and the Academy. Once completed we will be posting regular match reports and photos and this will become the primary tool for all Lions communication.

Subscriptions

Through the hard work of our Treasurer and various fundraising activities (notably catering – well done Carolyn and Gill !) subscriptions have been kept to an extremely modest £60. This covers membership, insurance, access to the pitches, participation in tournaments and the benefit of our extremely talented coaches.

However if your kids are unsure whether it’s going to appeal to them, please do come along and try it out first. Player registration and payment will be via the www.stewmelrugby.com website once the site upgrade is completed. We will let you know (and then chase you for payment !) as soon as it is available.

Sponsorship opportunities

  1. We are hugely grateful for our relationship with Lending Crowd who sponsored match balls and Scarborough tour strips in 2014 / 15 and we look forward to exploring opportunities with them for the coming Season also. In addition we have been approached by other businesses keen to support the Lions, the Academy and the Senior Club. Shirt sponsorship is impossible for the Lions given that our shirts last for several Seasons, but if you are interested in any of the sponsorship opportunities below please get in touch:
  2. Sponsor one of the Senior Club’s home matches – a very reasonable £600 sees you as lead sponsor on the match-day programme and gets a 2-course lunch for a table of 10 at Inverleith with 4 bottles of wine. Profits go to the Lions. Larger numbers can be accommodated. Contact lindseygeddes@googlemail.com
  3. Shirt sponsorship for the Senior Club. Contact lindseygeddes@googlemail.com
  4. Sponsorship of the Lions tours. The Sale Sharks Scarborough competition is a P4 to P7 competition which involves in excess of 500 kids and at least as many parents. Last Season’s P7 tour to Italy was the third-biggest International Rugby Tour ever to leave Scotland – quite an achievement! Contact Ali Stewart (alistewart25@gmail.com) re the Scarborough tour and Greg Limb (g.limb@gladman.co.uk) re the Italy tour
  5. The Lions Open Day – contact alistewart25@gmail.com to discuss how you or your firm might support the event
  6. Sponsorship of Lions match balls – please contact alistewart25@gmail.com
  7. The Academy – Contact ralphcampbell67@gmail.com

Social Events – Placeholders

Last year very successful lunches were held at Mary Erskine school on Ravelston Dykes prior to the home Rugby internationals. The format included a quality lunch with full bar service before patrons wandered down the hill to the match. Innovations for 2015 will include a well-known speaker and the option for those without a ticket to watch the match there on big screens. Scotland v England is on 6th Feb 2016 with the kick off at 4:50pm. Scotland v France is on the 13th of March at 3pm (N.B – a Sunday match). More details will follow, but if you would be interested in taking a table or attending please drop a line to alistewart25@gmail.com.

Stewart’s Melville Rugby Club Dinner Dance

The biggest and best social event of the year! The Venue is the President’s Suite at BT Murrayfield Stadium. Entertainment includes a 3-course meal, a great live band, auction, raffle and much more… The date is Saturday the 7th November 2015. Tickets are £55 per head with 10 guests per table.

In addition to being a really great night this is a big annual fundraiser for the Senior Club and the Lions and the Academy are really keen to support it given our close co-operation. We are therefore looking for one person from each year-group to co-ordinate a table or two. Could that be you? If so please contact alistewart25@gmail.com and I’ll give you a hand to get started.