Elmbridge players of various ages

Elmbridge Eagles soaring to crowdfunder target

Rugby League club Elmbridge Eagles have launched a Crowdfunder to raise funds for essential ground improvements and to protect their 25-year land lease.

The Eagles are hoping to raise £33,333 to resurface their playing fields at Oaken Lane and redecorate their clubhouse.

Head coach and acting secretary Kevin Rudd said: “We’ve got a little bit of shortfall in funds for finishing all our projects because of COVID and the increase in prices after the pandemic.

“The key thing is we’ve got a lease on the ground for 25 years and we want to keep that secure by making sure everything is shiny and nice for our landlord, which is the local council.”

However, Rudd was keen to point out that the Crowdfunder was not solely launched to raise money for the club.

He said: “We’re a local community club and we felt that it would be a great way of engaging with the community in the off season.

“Rugby League is a summer sport, so we wanted to do something to keep people involved, given the competition we face from the football and rugby union.”

Elmbridge Eagles’ attempt to increase funds has also been backed by Sport England.

The public body has pledged to put in an extra 30% of whatever the club raises, and Rudd is optimistic that Elmbridge will achieve their target.

He added: “As of today we’ve raised £24,000 in just over a week, which is really good.”

Elmbridge Eagles is a club with a rich history.

At 40 years old it is one of the oldest rugby league clubs in London and a founding member of the Rugby League Conference.

The club was founded by a group of schoolboys who were introduced to the sport by an enthusiastic games teacher.

When they reached senior school, the boys were banned from playing rugby league by their PE teacher.

Unperturbed, they formed their own team and secretly used the school grounds to play the sport before being found out.

Today, the club continues to thrive, boasting ten teams that range from mixed under seven’s to a master’s team for over 35s.

Rudd is proud of his club and the commitment of his players.

He said: “We’re like a little beacon, some people will travel an hour and a half just to get to training. We’ve got people coming all the way from the South coast to play for our club.”

Thanks to the Eagles’ booming youth academy, they have supplied 15% of the playing roster for local professional club London Broncos in the last five years.

Therefore, it is integral to both Elmbridge and the London rugby league ecosystem, that the Eagles reach their Crowdfunder target.

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