Hemel Stags

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Hemel Stags
Hemel Stags logo.svg
Club information
Full name Hemel Stags Rugby League Club
Nickname(s) Stags
Colours Hemelcolours.png
Founded 1981
Website hemelstags.com
Current details
Ground(s)
Chairman Bob Brown
Coach Dean Thomas
Manager Samantha Allum
Competition League 1
2016 League 1 15th
Uniforms
Home colours
Away colours
Records
National Conference League Division 3 1 (2012)
London League 3 (1988–89, 1989–90, 1990–91)
Southern Cup 1 (1995)
Rugby League Alliance First Division 1 (1998)
RLC Eastern Division 1 (2000)

Hemel Stags R.L.C. is a semi-professional rugby league club based in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, England. The club has played in Betfred League 1 since the 2013 season.

History[edit]

"Hemel Hempstead Amateur Rugby League Football Club" played its first match on 5 April 1981 against the Walthamstow-based McEntee, losing 38–0. It began as a pub team wearing borrowed jerseys. After a series of friendly fixtures during summer 1981, the club was formally constituted and joined the Second Division of the South Amateur Rugby League. The club's original logo featured Henry VIII as the local association football team Hemel F.C. is nicknamed "The Tudors".

During the club's early seasons, success on the field was hard to come by. Nevertheless, the club was determined to prosper and in its fourth season it opened its first social club at Pennine Way in February 1985 – a modest self-build affair. Commercial pressures led to the club leaving the London League division two and joining the Midlands and South West Amateur Rugby League Association (MASWARLA) for the 1986–87 and 1987–88 seasons. This brought playing success and on the club's return to the London Amateur Rugby League it became the dominant force in amateur rugby league in the South of England.

Hemel were London League champions in 1989–90 and 1990–91 and from there joined the Rugby League Alliance in 1991; the club played the reserve teams of professional clubs. At the same time, the club appointed Chris Tate as its first full-time development officer with the task of developing junior and youth players in Hemel. The first Stag logo appeared at this time.

The club spent three seasons in the National Conference League Premier Division between 1993 and 1996. David Ellis coached at the club during the 1993–94 and the 1994–95 seasons. A move to the National Conference League saw the club narrowly miss promotion to the professional ranks in 1993. In 1994, Hemel played London Broncos in the Regal Trophy, leading 18–6 at half-time only to succumb in the final 10 minutes. The club's playing depth that day was emphasised when, in the curtain-raiser, its reserves won the Southern Counties Cup against the all-Kiwi South London Warriors.

Hemel were the last winners of the Southern Cup in 1996, beating London Colonials at Roslyn Park RFC. The club was relegated from the NCL Premier division in 1995–96 finishing bottom, having played 22 won 4 and lost 18. After relegation Hemel resigned, spent a year in the London League then returned to the Rugby League Alliance in 1997. Hemel won the First Division of the Alliance in 1998 under player-coach Jay Turner and would have won promotion to the Super League Alliance but for their lack of a suitable stadium; their plan to build a stadium with National Lottery money having fallen through. The name, Hemel Stags, emerged in the late 90s in place of the cumbersome Hemel Hempstead Amateur Rugby League Football Club.

With the Rugby League Alliance being scrapped and its application for the Northern Ford Premiership rejected again because of their lack of a stadium, Hemel joined the newly formed Rugby League Conference for the 1999 season. After several years in the Rugby League Conference, they entered the newly formed National League 3 in 2003. Although the club lost all of its games in the first season, it progressed steadily and made the 2006 Grand Final under new coach Troy Perkins, losing to Bramley Buffaloes.

In 2006, the club entered the Northern Rail Cup, where the team met local rivals St Albans Centurions as well as the semi-professional clubs London Skolars and Crusaders. Hemel finished in second place in the 2006 league table and qualified for the playoffs for the Grand Final, where they lost to Bramley Buffaloes by 30 points to 8.

The arrival of Callum Irving as community rugby league coach in 2006 revitalised junior rugby league in Hemel and subsequently led to the club joining the Gillette National Youth League in 2008. In September 2008, the club obtained planning permission for a small stadium at Pennine Way and in 2010 the first stage was completed with the enclosure of the ground and the opening of an all-weather training pitch and the floodlighting of the main pitch.

In February 2012, Hemel was announced as the second side to join an expanded Championship 1 division for the 2013 season. Hemel Stags beat Huddersfield Underbank Rangers 17–10 in the National Conference League Division 3 Grand Final on 29 September 2012.

In the first campaign as a professional team, Hemel Stags finished fifth in the Kingstone Press Championship 1 claiming a play-off place. After defeating Oxford RLFC 30-26 at the Pennine Way Stadium in the first round, Hemel left the competition following a 28-44 loss away to London Skolars.

The 2014 season again seen Hemel Stags challenging for a play-off place, and they are currently[when?] in fifth position in the Kingstone Press Championship 1 table.

Hemel Stags finished the regular season of the Kingstone Press Championship 1 in the playoffs places for the second time in their first two seasons of being a semi-professional[rugby league] club. They finished in fifth position with 33 points after drawing 22-22 against Oxford at Iffley Road.

The club has played in a number of leagues over the years, from the London League, MASWARLA, National Conference League and the Alliance League. The dilemma for the club was how to raise standards without the costs of constant trips to the stronger leagues in the North of England.

The club has an active development policy in the town and a number of schools and junior sides are supported by the development officer.

Rugby league has a long history in Hemel schools with some of them having played it for 20 years. The schools' work has produced a number of talented rugby league players, including Dan Sarginson who now plays for the Super League club, Wigan and Kieran Dixon for Hull Kingston Rovers. Jack Howieson and Simon Tillyer played professionally for the Championship club, Sheffield Eagles.

As of the 2017 season, Hemel Stags have moved their training base to Dewsbury, West Yorkshire

2018 squad[edit]

* Announced on 13 February 2018:

Hemel Stags 2018 Squad
First team squad Coaching staff

Head coach

  • Troy Perkins

Assistant coach


Legend:
  • (c) Captain(s)
  • (vc) Vice captain(s)

Updated: 13 February 2018
Source(s): 2018 Squad Numbers

2018 transfers[edit]

Gains

Player Club Contract length Date
Wales Joe Doughty N/A 1 Year November 2017
Jamaica Kadeem Williams Gloucestershire All Golds 1 Year November 2017
England Louis Sheriff Doncaster 1 Year November 2017[1]
England Liam Darville Keighley Cougars 1 Year November 2017[2]
England Keiran Smith Keighley Cougars 1 Year November 2017[2]
England Jack Mitchell Gloucestershire All Golds 1 Year November 2017[2]
Greece Stefanos Bastas Rhodes Knights 1 Year December 2017[3]
England Brad Adams Tugun Seahawks 1 Year December 2017
England Mitch Stringer Dewsbury Rams 1 Year December 2017
England Danny Halmshaw West Bowling 1 Year December 2017
England Liam Coe West Bowling 1 Year December 2017
England Marcus Stock University of Sheffield 1 Year December 2017
England Ricky Hough Myton Warriors 1 Year December 2017
England Braden Hunter Dewsbury Celtic 1 Year December 2017
England Lewis Taylor Loughborough University 1 Year December 2017
England Reece Lee Unattached 1 Year December 2017
England Kieran Wilshaw Pontefract Titans RUFC 1 Year December 2017
England Jordan Parry Valley Cougars 1 Year December 2017
England Chris Heil Doncaster 1 Year January 2018[4]
England Sonny Esslemont Branshome Dales 1 Year January 2018[4]

Losses

Player Club Contract length Date
England Sam Crowther Hunslet R.L.F.C. 1 Year November 2017[5]
England Dec Gregory Rochdale Hornets 1 Year December 2017
England Jack O'Brien Red Star Belgrade 1 Year December 2017
England Dan Hawksworth York City Knights 1 Year January 2018[6]
England Matt Ross Keighley Cougars 1 Year February 2018

Club staff[edit]

Coaching team[edit]

Name Position
Troy Perkins Head coach
Dan Stocks Assistant coach
Matt Lambert Strength and conditioning coach

Juniors[edit]

Cluster clubs enter the winter Chilterns Junior League at under-13 and under-15 age groups. Hemel Stags also field a team in the Gillette National Youth League and age group London Junior League.

Club honours[edit]

  • London League: 1988–89, 1989–90, 1990–91
  • Southern Cup: 1995
  • Rugby League Alliance First Division: 1998
  • RLC Eastern Division: 2000
  • RLC South Central Division: 2001, 2002
  • London Junior League: 2006, 2008
  • NCL Division 3: 2012

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Hemel sign Sheriff". Love Rugby League. 30 November 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2018. 
  2. ^ a b c "Hemel make four more additions". Love Rugby League. 7 November 2017. Retrieved 24 January 2018. 
  3. ^ "Hemel sign Greek trialist on a contract!". Hemel Stags. 6 December 2017. Retrieved 24 January 2018. 
  4. ^ a b "Former Hull KR pair join Hemel Stagsf". Love Rugby League. 2 January 2018. Retrieved 23 January 2018. 
  5. ^ "Hunslet get pack boost by signing Stags prop Crowther". Yorkshire Evening Post. 17 November 2017. Retrieved 5 December 2017. 
  6. ^ "Hawksworth earns York deal". Love Rugby League. 25 January 2018. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 

External links[edit]