7th August 2017, 12:25 | north_east
National Club of the Year runners-up, Cramlington Rockets RLFC, are supporting the creation of a second Rugby League club in Northumberland.
Alnwick Bears will launch in 2018 - starting with an under 8s team.
Wearing claret and gold to reflect the colours of the Northumberland flag, it is the most significant development for Rugby League in Northumberland since Killingworth Rockets relocated to Cramlington in 2009.
The club is being formed in response to tremendous demand for Rugby League in the north Northumberland town.
Earlier this year, 150 children from seven local schools took part in Alnwick's first-ever Rugby League competition, the result of extensive development work in the area over the last two years by the Rockets' community team.
"It's a natural step to continue to grow our game," said founder and Rockets Community Manager, Steve Beaty.
"We have loads of kids playing Rugby League every week in school, and when we hold camps in the school holidays, they are always really popular."
Rockets rugby camps have proven to be popular in Alnwick
The Bears' first-ever club logo
Highly-qualified support team
The Rockets are recognised as one of the UK's leading clubs and were shortlisted for National Club of the Year in 2016.
A friendly family-focused club, their meteoric rise has been thanks to their dedication to innovation and a community engagement strategy centred upon its popular self-funded community team.
Jeff Ball, Chairman of Cramlington Rockets, is keen to pass on the best guidance learnt at the Rockets.
He said: "It's an exciting project to be a part of and we already have a number of people keen to be involved, either as coaches, volunteers or sponsors.
"We have learnt a lot in these past few years and our aim is to give the Bears a solid footing that allows it to grow and evolve into its own club.
"We do not want to make it 'Rockets mark 2.'
"Alnwick is 30 miles from Cramlington and has its own character and that is what we want that to come out - we are already looking forward to some Northumberland derbies in years to come!"
The journey so far
"I love coming to Alnwick as everyone is incredibly friendly and enthusiastic," said Rockets' Head Community Coach, Danny Gilroy.
"There is also a huge talent waiting to be tapped into.
"We have three or four lads who travel to Cramlington every week that are very good players and of course there is Jake Woods..."
Woods is an Alnwick local who came through the ranks at Cramlington and can currently be found playing his trade for with Newcastle Thunder's under 19s side.
"In 2014, he played for England Youth, the first playing from Northumberland to enjoy such an honour."
What's in a name?
Explaining the new club name, the team did not have to look far for inspiration.
"Danny’s nickname is actually Bear!" laughs Beaty.
"Given the work he's done to bring Rugby League to Alnwick, it is a fitting tribute.
"We also thought Alnwick Bears reflects the values we want the club to have.
"Powerful and ferocious in battle but also with a strong family-focus. It will be a really welcoming positive environment and we cannot wait to get started."
How to get involved
The Bears are intending to start training in February. If you are interested in getting involved with the Bears as a volunteer, player, coach or sponsor, contact Steve Beaty on 07984630083 or Steve.Beaty@cramlingtonrockets.co.uk. Follow the Bears on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to keep up to date with all the latest developments. Full information can be found on pitchero.com/clubs/alnwickbearsrlfc.