BOASTING some of the most modern facilities in the county, Didcot are hoping their new professional look will help propel them up the leagues, writes Jack Johnson.

Having moved from their humble dwelling at Edmonds Park to the brand new pavilion at Boundary Park, the south Oxfordshire club are thriving.

Now based in the middle of the expanding Great Western Park housing development, Didcot have senior men’s and women’s sides, a mixed touch team, as well as a minis and juniors section with more than 160 children.

Boundary Park has become one of the club’s biggest assets, with modern changing rooms, a clubhouse and floodlit pitches a big draw for prospective members.

“The main attraction is that it’s helping to retain players,” said team manager Jonathan Stanley.

“We were signing players previously, but due to the facilities it was not much of an appeal to hang around.

“It was a shed in Edmonds Park, but now we’re attracting players from the leagues above – they can see what we have to offer.”

While keen to expand, a family and community ethos remains at the heart of the club.

A number of volunteers worked tirelessly to complete the move to Boundary Park and they are eager to remember their roots.

Didcot’s men’s side ply their trade in the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Premier, harbouring dreams to progress from the eighth tier of English rugby.

But head coach Martin Moran, who is assisted by former Chinnor and Henley player Al Blewitt, is keen to stress the club must improve as one.

He said: “My aspirations for the club are really focused on the long-term development of Didcot RFC.

“While it’s important that we have a successful senior side, we also need to continue to develop the mini and junior sections and then building the transition from junior to senior rugby.

“Equally, we are committed to making rugby and the club as inclusive as possible through promoting ladies rugby, touch and all other forms of the game.”

Another part of Didcot’s progression is they now have a registered osteopath in Jon McSwiney, who provides both off and on-pitch treatment.

Having made inroads throughout the club, they hope to continue to attract new players to their Tuesday and Thursday training sessions, while progressing rugby for children from under six to 15.

Stanley said: “We’re trying to feed the senior team with the younger people coming through, and the women’s side of things has really developed.

“They’re also doing work with primary schools as well, not with an aim to recruit, but to promote rugby to younger children.”

He added: “I’ve been involved with the club since 1996 through to when we folded in 2002 and it was reformed a few years later.

“I never used to understand how we would struggle to fill a team in a town so big.

“I don’t think there’s ever been a real seriousness about the recruitment and I think with the facilities we have now, we’re keen to professionalise everything.”