High praise for stalwart Mike Sprules...

DORCHESTER Rugby Club’s under-16s’ coach Mike Sprules has been recognised at the club’s youth section AGM and presentation day.

The event saw awards presented and many of the club’s league and vase-winning senior players were on hand to meet the future of the club and hand out the trophies.

Sprules was given the longstanding service award having been involved with the club as a player and coach since the mid-1980s playing nearly 500 games for the club and still holds the club record for playing the most consecutive first-team games.

As well as his playing and coaching time with the senior sides, he has been a successful coach within the junior section for many years and he has just completed his time with the current under-16s, the third group of young players he has taken through the junior system.

He joined the group six years ago and said: “I can see these are a talented bunch. I will get them to be Dorset & Wilts champions”.

This was achieved last year when they beat Salisbury and defended it again this year against Chippenham while they were Dorset champions at under-12 and under-14 level, and Dorset & Wilts champions at under-15 and under-16, making them one of Dorchester’s most successful junior squads.

The same group of boys also made up the Thomas Hardye School team which won the Nat West Schools Vase at Twickenham in March 2017.

Sprules said: “The 2017/18 season has been a fantastic time for the boys, and all of the coaches should be acknowledged in playing a part in that success.”

A club spokesman added: “Without doubt they are a talented bunch, but they also needed Mike to nurture those skills and get the best from them and his inclusive style and love of free flowing rugby has achieved this.

“As a coach, he injects his energy into every event whatever the weather: but the difference is that, unlike most of the age group coaches, Mike doesn’t have a son or daughter in the age group.

“His dedication goes beyond that of a parent to someone who is dedicated to rugby, Dorchester Rugby Club and especially this group of young people. While Mike is not a parent of someone in the group, he is affectionately known to them, and acknowledged by them, as their ‘Sunday Dad’. Dorchester rugby club are proud and delighted to acknowledge Mike’s dedication to the club and game.”

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.