By Sebastian Sternik
Following a lengthy three year process, Normanton Rugby League club are finally able to unveil their brand new £120k changing rooms.
Speaking about the project, club Chairwoman Joan Langley said: “The facility that we had didn’t accommodate the teams we had. David Raybould came round from the RFL and helped us to put the funding together initially.”
“We were rewarded with a bit of funding but there was no way that was going to be enough, so that’s when I brought Neil Durant (Facilities officer at Normanton Knights) on board. He’s been absolutely marvellous.”
With the help of Durant, and many others as well, the club were able to raise more funds and carry out their vision to improve their 25 year old facility.
Majority of the funding was provided by Sport England and Wren who both awarded the club around £40,000 each. Additional funding from the RFL and Wakefield Council helped to finalise the project.
Normanton Knights is well known for producing new talent through its development pathway which stretches all the way from an under 7s team to open age.
Langley reflected on the importance of local clubs like Normanton and said: “Not last year but the year before we had 6 players playing in Super League and loads in Championship. In my opinion its clubs like ourselves and other clubs that they get the players from.”
Speaking about the upcoming season, Langley praised the first team saying: “This year, when I look at the squad, for open age, it’s one of the strongest we’ve had.”
The Knights finished sixth in Division 1 of the National Conference League last season. With new facilities in place and a good squad at their disposal, many at the club are optimistic ahead of the new campaign.
However, despite the recent developments, there is still a lot more to be done. According to Langley: “At a club like this there’s something to do. Probably the next big project will be to extend the club. We can attract a crowd of 500 to 600, so when the game is finished, they can’t all get in here because it’s not big enough.”
Normanton kick off their season with a trip to Blackbrook on the 11th of March. The Knights will then host two back to back local derbies; first against Lock Lane and then against the Featherstone Lions on the 18th and 25th of March.