MERIDEN — Rugby is coming to the Silver City.
Starting this spring, the Midstate Rugby Club will be playing weekly at Meriden’s Mountain Mist Day Camp.
Midstate Rugby was formerly known as the Cheshire Rugby Corporation, which formed in 2005. The club changed its name this year to better reflect the geographic makeup of its participants.
League president Bill Bishop, one of the club founders, said it was important to change the name.
“There’s always been that confusion the players would have to play for Cheshire High School,” Bishop said. “We are representing the area we are drawing from. We are hoping to get from players from Meriden, Middletown and Southington and other towns in Central Connecticut.”
Bishop, a Cheshire resident, noted that the league has players from more than 20 towns. In all, there is a U10 co-ed flag league as well as U12, U14 and high school boys teams. For the girls, there are U14 and high school teams.
“Three-quarters of our high school athletes go on to play in college,” Bishop said. “There’s a lot of opportunity to play college rugby and scholarships are out there. We currently have six players on the Sacred Heart University women’s rugby team that came through our program.”
Bishop, who coaches the men’s team at Trinity College, added that rugby continues to grow in Connecticut.
The Midstate Club averages 150 athletes per season. Games are typically held on Fridays and the occasional Sunday.
The first week of the upcoming season, which opens in March, will be played on the turf of Cheshire High School. The club will then switch to Meriden’s Falcon Field the second week before moving to the natural grass at Mountain Mist Day Camp on High Hill Road for the remainder of the season.
The spring season runs through May. A summer program follows in June and July.
“It’s a lot of fun, it’s enjoyable and great exercise,” Bishop said. “One of the big things behind the sport are the values that are taught. Those values are based on respect, discipline and sportsmanship within your team, opponents and referees. That’s something we drive home to our athletes.
“This is a contact sport, so we teach proper technique,” Bishop added. “We do everything to make the sport as safe as possible.”
Registration is now open. Visit midstaterugby.com.
The club will also hold an information night next Thursday, Feb. 21 in the Cheshire High School Commons from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
“We are very understanding if someone wants to come try the sport; it can be intimidating to join a new sport,” Bishop said. “This will be a chance for parents and athletes to ask questions and meet the coaches.”
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