RUGBY: Newly-named Weymouth tap into Portland's 'gold mine'

AT THE HELM: Weymouth and Portland RFC club chairman Ian McMillan, left, and Mike Murphy, mini and youth chairman

AT THE HELM: Weymouth and Portland RFC club chairman Ian McMillan, left, and Mike Murphy, mini and youth chairman

First published in Sport Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Reporter

PORTLAND has been described as a “gold mine” for untapped rugby talent after the island community officially became a part of rugby in Weymouth.

After members voted in favour of a name change at a special general meeting, Wey-mouth RFC is now Weymouth and Portland RFC following approval by the Rugby Football Union (RFU).

And club president Des Quick, who had pushed for Portland’s inclusion for a while, believes the change can only be positive for the Monmouth Avenue outfit.

The club has already been working closely with schools on the island as part of the RFU’s All Schools Programme and plans to hold taster sessions for those from Portland interested in playing.

“It’s a no-brainer as far as I’m concerned,” said Quick. “I think we will get lots of good players out of it and I’m really looking forward to it.

“Portland is a bit of a gold mine and if we can channel some of the latent talent that is there it would be a real boom for the club in terms of playing numbers.

“It is Weymouth and Portland borough after all so it’s trying to bring things up to date and reflect what the community is like.

“We’ve already got a few youngsters starting to come over to Weymouth.”

He went on to add: “We know it’s not going to happen overnight but the people of Portland are going to be more conscious of the fact there is a rugby club serving the community.”

For the first time ever, the club now has teams in every age group from under-6 to senior level.

Commenting further, club chairman Ian McMillan and mini and youth chairman Mike Murphy added: “There has been talk about changing the club’s name to include Portland for a few years and we are pleased the club has voted for the change as we know it can only benefit the club and move the club forward for the future.”

*This weekend sees the club host the third Great Weymouth Beer Festival, with a seven-a-side tournament on Saturday (11am start) in aid of SUDEP Action (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy).

The festival runs from 5-11pm tomorrow, noon-11pm on Saturday and noon-5pm on Sunday.

Entry is free and there is plenty to keep the family entertained with live music, refreshments and a bouncy castle.

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