The name badger is said to derive from the French bêcheur, meaning digger, and Brentwood RFC’s U18 Badger Squad have certainly dug deep for each other this season.
Starting with just 20 registered boys, they were nonetheless a tightly-knit group, many having been together since the mini section and 10 since the Under 8s. Two more signed up before Christmas to complete the Badger Squad, of which 19 of the final 22 are single club players, who have stayed because of the excellent coaching and opportunities for all Brentwood young players.
Four U18s already play senior rugby for the club and the vast majority are likely to be back once they return from university. They have trained twice weekly with the first and second 15s, forging friendships and respect between the sides and enabling the coaching to benefit from the experience of the older players.
In May the Badger Squad won the East Midlands RFU National Colts Cup and not only galvanized the club but captured the hearts of many people in the town and countyby beating an excellent Havant RFC U18s team
19-7 in a thrilling final at Bedford Blues RFC. The impact of this win on the club has been considerable, the quarter final match at home to Bracknell attracted a crowd of over 600, made up of family, friends and, more importantly, representatives from all age groups within the club from the senior teams through to U6s.
All records were broken in the clubhouse as everyone celebrated the victory. Travelling 280 miles for the semi-final, Brentwood had more support present than the home side. Tweets and messages of support came from international rugby players, pundits and celebrities.
The boys have, throughout their time at Brentwood, trained together as a single squad drawn from that single group. All have continually improved thanks to their commitment and camaraderie. This is not a team of countyand academy players, like many of the teams that they played against during the competition, but they play as a team with a very strong will built from their loyalty to each other and the club.
Brentwood is a small club playing from facilities leased from the local council and supported by Chigwell Bi-Fold Doors and Windows and Fenton Sports, Brentwood. From this truly grassroots foundation, the boys achieved something quite remarkable and have been a credit both to their club and to the sport epitomising what team sports, sportsmanship and most importantly rugby is all about.
Said Head Coach, Steve Killington: “This is a special group of boys and taking this national title is the biggest achievement in the club’s history. They are such a close knit team and have been a delight to coach for 13 years.”
Captain James Killington added “It was an amazing effort from the best group of lads I know.”