Huntingdon aim for consolidation - and a dream move

HUNTINGDON Stags chairman Mark Garrood says promotion was never the aim for 2012 – but next season the club will be looking for a ‘top-two finish’ – and a brand new home … in Alconbury.

The rugby union side were involved in an amazing game at Stockwood Park on Saturday, where they fought back from 18-0 down in the first half, to win 23-18 – and the team will begin the new year seventh in the Midlands Two East South table, in a relatively comfortable position, but well shy of Peterborough Lions at the top.

Before this campaign there was optimism at the Huntingdon Racecourse-based club, but now there is realism.

“We were looking for a top half finish and I think we still are really,” said the chairman. “Next season we should be looking at a top-two place – especially as more and more of our youngsters are coming through.

“Whether we are ready for promotion and whether we could sustain promotion is another matter.

“There is a lot of money involved and we will need new sponsorship deals and a sugar daddy if we go up.

“So staying in this division is our ambition at the moment.”

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But Garrood believes a move away from the Racecourse might be the way forward for the club who have to pack up their belongings and move out of the clubhouse every summer.

“The Racecourse is pretty good to us but to have our own pitches and our own clubhouse is the dream.

“Training on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday – with the senior and youth sides – we have to wheel out these temporary floodlights, which is a real hassle.

“So if we could get our own clubhouse and rent it out as a venue, that’s got to be the objective.

“That hopefully will happen in the next two or three years.”

The club has been linked with the development at Alconbury Airfield where club sponsors Urban & Civic are planning 5,000 new homes, enough commercial property to create 8,000 new jobs as well as large areas of green space.

Garrood said: “That’s the dream. It’s a possibility with the development at Alconbury. We have been looking at some land up there and hopefully that will come to fruition. That wouldn’t happen next year, but it would be fantastic.”

Read more in The Hunts Post’s exclusive interview with Huntingdon & District chairman Mark Garrood in next week’s paper.