We have some exciting news to share…

By | Thu 2 Nov 2023

Exciting Partnership with Lowestoft and Yarmouth Rugby Club

Chiang Mai Cobras have entered into an exciting partnership with Lowestoft and Yarmouth rugby club, in the UK. L & Y RUFC have been around a long time and play in the UK’s Eastern Counties Greene King Division One North.

Lowestoft and Yarmouth Rugby Club was founded in 1879 and declares itself, to be the oldest rugby club in Norfolk. Lowestoft & Yarmouth RUFC is a Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC), which is a not-for-profit organisation. A true community sports hub.

It is a limited company, registered under the Industrial & Provident Societies Act.

The Clubs present ground, Gunton Park, was formally opened, on the 5th September1964. The club has a bright future and are looking at redeveloping Gunton Park’s facilities, or moving to a new site.

L & Y currently field 2 senior’s teams, 1st & 2nd XV’s and a vet’s side, the Drifters. Along side this, they have an extensive Boys & Girls youth development program, ranging from under 12’s, through to U 18’s. The club also holds regular touch rugby and walking rugby sessions & their mini rugby section, is very important for the future of the club, & the envy of many.

The Clubs Vision & principal mission is “To promote, develop and sustain the game of Rugby Union in the coastal towns of Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth and surrounding areas, in an environment that is family friendly, and inclusive for all.

The clubs’ seniors head coach is Richard Henwood, who spent many years in the Middle East, playing for the Abu Dhabi Harlequins, with Cobras Chairman, Dave McRitchie. After Dave reached out and told Rich about the Cobras initiative in getting young Thai players into sponsorship programs, so that they could have the opportunity to further their playing experience, it was decided to create the link between the two clubs.

Richard said of the initiative This is a unique and exciting opportunity to link up with an overseas grassroots club, whose culture, is aligned with our own. Chiang Mai Cobras are a young club, with an exciting future. Hopefully we can support them in their goal, to develop local Thai rugby talent, and provide a pathway for further player and personal development, here in the UK. This is also a wonderful opportunity for our players to travel to Thailand, play some rugby, and make some memories they, will never forget

Phase 1 of the partnership is a club wide fundraising effort by L & Y RUFC, which will help provide kit, transport and accommodation, so that the Cobras development players have the opportunity to play in national tournaments and get the exposure to higher level rugby, that they need, to develop their game.

L & Y Director of Rugby Gary Cooper said “Over the years, we have always looked to help players develop to their full potential on and off, the field of play. I am very proud we are in a position to do this. With the coaching structure Richard has in place, we should be well positioned for the foreseeable future. It is very exciting times to be forging a bond with Chiang Mai Cobras. I am sure it will work out for both clubs and we look forward, to a long relationship”

Phase 2 will involve L&Y hosting two young Thai players for a season, which will further develop their rugby skills, and more importantly, provide them with a valuable, lifetime experience.

In return Cobras Rugby are offering L&Y players, playing opportunities in Thailand. Extended stays will be arranged, to include playing in the August – November CNX Dimbulla Estate Rugby 11s league, and/or during the Cobras touring season, between February to June.

Cobras Chairman Dave McRitchie was enthusiastic saying “Chiang Mai Cobras are extremely excited about the partnership with L&Y. This opportunity brings together the experience of a well-established English club and a young aspiring, grassroots club of Thailand. This player pathway and partnership, offers a chance for the Cobras to showcase our talented young Thai players, and demonstrate the global value of rugby and friendship, that it brings. We sincerely hope, that we can also reciprocate and host L&Y players on tour, or extended visits, to enjoy the world-renowned Thai hospitality, and afford playing opportunities in Chiang Mai and throughout Thailand. We are very pleased to be aligned with a club whose ethos is similar to our own. We share the belief, that rugby is a truly global game and with rugby, you will build friendships, wherever you go. We believe these opportunities afford so much in the realm of personal development, friendship, growth and exposure to other cultures, to truly create not only better rugby players, but also better people”

The touring season, sees the CM Cobras travelling far and wide, spreading the word about Northern Thai rugby and showcasing the local rugby talent on offer. Tours normally include Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket, plus overseas tours to Hanoi (Vietnam) and Colombo (Sri Lanka). Monthly trips are also an option for the L & Y players and simple to facilitate with a UK passport and can be timed to join one of the tours.

Thailand is also a wonderful place to tour and Cobras Rugby will help plan and facilitate a team tour for all ages, genders and abilities from L & Y RUFC. The club will start collecting money for the fund raising, at the coming home games.

CM Cobras continue to be innovative in their quest to give local rugby talent the best opportunities that they can, and look forwards to developing the relationship with L & Y RUFC. The first two lads to be chosen to play in the UK, will be breaking new ground and creating history for both clubs, Chiang Mai & Thailand rugby.

L&Y RUFC Chairman, Russ Wilkinson had the final word “Being part of a program that gives rugby the chance to develop and grow across the globe takes Lowestoft & Yarmouth’s RUFC community spirit, to a whole new level. We are proud to support the Chiang Mai Cobras, in their quest to develop rugby and its values, in Thailand, and look forward to welcoming their players, to the club”

What a fantastic opportunity this is for all!

If you would like more details, please contact

Chiang Mai Cobras Rugby Club at chiangmaicobras@gmail.com

Richard Henwood at Rhenwood@sky.com

Lowestoft & Yarmouth RUFC at www.lyrugby.club