The Olney Mini & Junior section was founded in 1972 by Alex Longland, Ian Cox and Jack Brimley. Nearly 50 years later it has grown into a section that has approximately 450 players across 12 age groups (under 6 to 17), with over 80 DBS checked coaches/administrators and a separate committee that ensures that it runs as smoothly as possible. This doesn’t include the many parent volunteers that help operate the BBQ and Bar on a Sunday. On big home fixture days there can be over 700 people at the club (including players and parents). The whole scale of the section means that it is a huge team effort to ensure we are able to provide such a great introduction to rugby for boys and girls of all abilities.
We are particularly proud of our ability to give everyone a chance to enjoy the game but also an environment in which players can reach their full potential, whatever that may be. We regularly supply players into the Northampton Saints development programme and the RFU Developing Player Pathway, and even some that have gone on to junior and senior international representative honours, but also have many that just enjoy playing week in and week out with their mates on a Sunday. Many players go on to play for the club at Senior level and there are often generations that have played for the club. All are welcome and all are given the chance to develop and we recognise that often that is at different ages so maintaining interest in the game, and the values on which the game is based, is critical.
Our under 6, nursery section train throughout the season whilst the Minis and Midis (under 7-11) play friendly fixtures most weekends from October to April (the season starts in September with training up until October) against most of the local clubs in our area as well as participating in festivals. Under 12 to 17 is now considered juniors and whilst the under 12s still coincide fixtures with the Midis, the under 13 to 16 play individual fixtures throughout the season. From under 14 we join the East Midlands Mini & Junior structured season with a cup for under 14, league and cup for under 15 and league for under 16. Under 17s just play a cup competition with players in this age group also playing Saturday Colts rugby to help the integration and transition into Senior rugby.
The superb facilities we have at Olney RFC mean that the Mini and Junior section has been able to thrive and will continue to do so. If you have any questions on the section then please feel free to contact the relevant age group contacts or the M&J Committee members who will be only too happy to help.