Nomads’ big boost towards clubhouse
SOUTHERN Nomads made a big step towards ending its nomadic existence and finding a permanent home when the club took receipt of a very generous cheque for £25,000 from club member Michael Shimmin.
Michael pledged the cheque at the club’s 25th anniversary celebrations in 2005.
‘I did not make the offer blindly,’ he said. ‘I said if you guys want to make this club work, I will match whatever you raise, but I cannot leave it open, so I put a cap on it.’
The cap was a wise decision as the club’s fundraising body Sport Erin has raised an impressive £40,000 since being established in 2005.
This gives the club £65,000 in the kitty for a new clubhouse that it’s hoped will go on the recreational area of the land at Ballakilley, ear-marked for development as such in the Southern Area Plan.
The plan is also reaching its final stages, meaning the prospects of a site for the new home also draw nearer.
‘We have the money to be able to get things moving now,’ he said. ‘And there are grants from the RFU [Rugby Football Union], plus we can apply for local grants and maybe use the property as security for further borrowings. If all goes well, we will be in a position to move quickly.’
He explained why he was happy to make such a generous donation and said: ‘They participate in an enormous amount of activities. I am fortunate to be able to put back into society, which has been good to me.
‘I have made the closest friends – they are a wonderful group of people working in the community to raise money and further themselves, and they need every support they can get. In terms of pleasure, it’s been a bargain!’
There are now hundreds of people involved in the club, and a thriving youth element.
Michael said: ‘It keeps people fit, brings them together, provides a useful social purpose and gets you out in the fresh air.
‘It means young people are not sat on the computer, they are learning interpersonal skills and rugby skills and serving in the community. Young people being out and serving in that way – that is an uplift for everybody in society.’
The club has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Founder Nick Watterson said: ‘The club was formed by me, Tim [Croft] and Rob Hirst in an attempt to get us out of the pub on a Saturday afternoon.
‘The first teams were made up of a mix of ex-players and novices and many a Saturday morning was spent phoning around to fill all positions.
‘The club was run on a tight budget and there was many a Monday when my mum’s washing line was filled with team shirts.’
The club was originally called The Station, in tribute to the Port Erin pub they would frequent and the only home it has ever known. The team, meanwhile, was comprised of ‘some unlikely candidates’ who happened to be in the pub, said Tim.
They challenged a team from the Union to play different sports. The focus settled on rugby and momentum gathered to the point where the club is the only one from the island to have won the Cheshire Plate, winning it last April.
Their achievements are made greater through never having had a permanent base. Nick said: ‘Ultimately, the lack of having our own facilities cost us inclusion in the leagues in the UK as this is part of their criteria.
‘Getting our own home pitch may not now automatically qualify us to join them, but it would help focus all the club’s efforts and resources, whether it’s for the successful junior teams we keep producing or the seniors.’
He added: ‘Whether it’s a confused full back running into the posts and knocking himself out or a scintillating try to win the Cheshire Plate, we’ve seen it all at Nomads.’
But the key question is: Will the permanent home force a change in name?
Not likely, it seems.
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Weather for Isle of Man
Tuesday 21 May 2013
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