James Croker: Cup win proves that Basingstoke RFC are top dogs in Hampshire

Basingstoke RFC director of rugby James Croker and daughter Lucy celebrate with the Hampshire Cup.

Basingstoke RFC director of rugby James Croker and daughter Lucy celebrate with the Hampshire Cup. Buy this photo

First published in Sport by , Sports Reporter

BASINGSTOKE RFC enjoyed the perfect end to their season as they lifted the Hampshire Cup after a thrilling 13-11 extra-time victory over Havant.

The win put down an excellent marker for next season, when ’Stoke will compete against their Hampshire rivals in London One following the first XV’s relegation from National League Three London.

Basingstoke RFC director of rugby James Croker said: “The cup victory proves we are the best team in Hampshire, which is what we want to be.

“There is a buzz around the squad, and we will be looking to recruit some new guys, but we want the right players who will bring experience and a little bit of game management with them.

“We included some younger players in the winning team, and as far as I know, most of the first-team squad will be back.

“We have a few guys coming back for next season, like Ollie John and Jamie Folan, and Andy Barnes and Karl Buttle should be back from injury.”

Croker will look to recruit players, but he wants them to be the right fit for the team.

He said: “We have some very good young players coming through the system and we want to keep this happening as they are the life blood of the club.

“We have an excellent link-up with London Irish, which means players can move on from Basingstoke to the pro game.”

The league rugby may have stopped, but there is plenty going on during the summer at the club to keep Croker busy.

Disability rugby is set to start on Friday, May 16, at Down Grange, while the successful schools programme will continue.

The club are also looking to build their girls section in the year of the Women’s World Cup.

This section is sponsored by AXA Wealth and Hope and Clay and the under-13 girls enjoyed victory in a tournament at Wasps last weekend.

The club will also be entering some sevens competitions and the popular Monday night touch rugby continues from 6.30pm. Anyone can turn up and play.

“There is a lot going on in the summer at the club," Croker added. "I know the first team did not do as well as we would have liked this season, but, overall, most of our teams, including the juniors, have done really well, which bodes well for the future.”

Anyone interested in getting involved in disability and girls rugby can contact the club on 01256 323308 or send an email to administration@basingstokerfc.com.

See this week's edition of the Gazette, on sale now, for a four-page special celebrating 'Stoke's Hampshire Cup victory.

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