On 30 November 2007, 12 men met in The Roseneath public house Gillingham and whilst drinking only tea, the Medway Dragons RLFC was formed. The initial aim was to create two teams to join the London RL Junior League.

Some youngsters from the Medway Towns had managed to win the Mighty Quins RL Festival at U9’s the previous season and three lads made it through to Quins RL U13 Scholarship. The big question now was, ‘Could we stand alone?’On 06 Jan 2008 an open day was held and surprisingly over 150 people, including Phil Jones & Gareth Haggerty (from Harlequins RL) attended. We managed to secure fantastic facilities including two first class pitches, an all weather pitch, a clubhouse, grandstand and dressing rooms from the Royal School of Military Engineering and in February 2008 we hit the grass running. In our first season in London RL Junior League we out performed in our respective leagues. Our mini teams made a fantastic start and we regularly bring home winners medals.

However, the ethos of the club is not about winning. Winning is great, but the aim of the club is to enable young people to play Rugby League. We focus on coaching the core skills and give players of all abilities, equal opportunities. We have lost, and will continue to lose matches, but this in turn ensures the continued development of all our players.
Having started with an idea of two teams and ending up with seven and over 150 players registered with Rugby League Services in 2009. This season we have 9 teams wanting to play Rugby League and The Dragons now play at Under 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16 and Under18. The 2010 season promises to be even better for the whole Rugby League community, we have exciting new developments with Girls, Wheelchair Rugby League & Masters (over 35’s) joining The Dragons and an expansion in the Junior & Mini Leagues in London & the South. Our Under 7’s team has now nearly twenty players, the youngest of whom is just three, playing Tag Rugby League and having a wonderful time. Our biggest effort goes into this Mini section, as we have a real chance of producing great players. In 2011 when we are three years old, we hope to expand further and establish a senior team, the core of which will have come through from the Under 16’s of 2008 setting the tone to take us further forward.

Since our birth we have had a remarkable success with representative football and 15 Dragons making it through to the London RL Origin teams in 2008. This number increased to 18 in the tougher environment of 2009 and as the game grows standards improve. Seven Dragons played Harlequins Rugby league Foundation Academy in 2009, against just 1 in 2008. Gavin Hyder, paved the way for the Dragons and we now have produced two players on contract in the Under 18 Academy and 10 players in the 2008-9 Harlequins Rugby League Scholarship. These achievements show the real opportunities available to all in Rugby league, your school, or which club you play for doesn’t matter as judgement is on the individual and their potential.

We have educated 21 coaches, with more to come. Our second Match Officials education course was run in February and 27 people qualified. Most importantly, we have attracted over 50 volunteers who work very hard, providing the important attention to detail, and ensuring that the experience of all, including other clubs, who come to the Medway Dragons is as good as it can be.

A 2009 highlight was the success in achieving ClubMark Gold. A project managed by Pal Bains, a volunteer at the club who pulled everyone into shape in quick time. This accolade has opened many doors for The Dragons, particularly in schools, and gained us access to grants and funding. In September, we launched a primary schools Tag Rugby programme, using our young volunteers, all trained on the RFL programme, to introduce the game to school years 5 & 6, helping the schools and attracting new players to the club. The Dragons are working with The Howard School who have now established a Rugby League Academy at the 1500 strong boy’s secondary school. In partnership with Harlequins Rugby League and The RFL and we aim to stage the inaugural Medway Schools Rugby League Challenge Cup this summer, enabling young people to play and providing a pathway through, The Dragons, for those who wish to do more.

We have attracted an impressive group of sponsors from global corporations to local businesses, all of whom believe in the Medway Dragons and support what we are doing. Backed by real support from The RFL, Harlequins Rugby League, The Army, Medway Council, the news media, local press and our own army of volunteers, the future is bright.
Conscious of the need to lay down solid foundations and build a sustainable club, each of the volunteers has been encouraged to find and nurture a successor, every decision taken has had an eye on the future. We consistently develop our volunteers by investing in structured education programmes and development. We are out there, looking at other clubs and sports and sharing ideas. We want to be the best sports club in our region!

We are always open for new players of all ages, if you’re interested feel free to attend our training evenings on: Thursdays 6–9 pm at our Clubhouse The Garrison Stadium, Sally Port Gardens, Brompton, Gillingham, Kent ME7 5BU.

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