ONE OF Huntingdonshire’s sporting institutions turns 80 this season.

ONE OF Huntingdonshire's sporting institutions turns 80 this season.

Huntingdon and District Rugby Union Football Club - better known as the Stags - was founded in Sapley in 1930/1.

And the club starts its 81st season this Saturday (September 11) with a trip to neighbours Peterborough Lions.

After finishing 10th in the Midlands 2 East (South) last season, Stags captain James Thorp said the club was aiming for a top-four finish this time around.

"We have a number of very good youngsters coming through at the club, many of whom played last year. They will have the benefit of that experience, so this season will be a chance to build upon it," said Thorp.

"We already have some excellent senior players for the youngsters to learn from, so a top-four finish with this young side would be a huge success."

The introduction of bonus points - awarded for being within seven points of the winning team or scoring four or more tries - will mean clubs always have something to play for.

Thorp added: "It was a very tight league last year, and it will be same again this time, so we need to maximise all our bonus points. Consistency will be crucial."

To kick off the 80th anniversary season at home, the Stags will hold a club day on September 18 when they play their first home match of the season. The club will welcome back past players to celebrate the anniversary and watch the first XV in their league clash with Towcestrians.

Club chairman John Doonan said the season was an important milestone for the club.

"We are delighted to be able to celebrate our 80th anniversary during the coming season. It also coincides with the 10th anniversary of our minis section.

"Last season was all about learning how to run our own club, having moved back to the Racecourse.

"This season therefore will be one of celebration and consolidation of all the hard work put in last season, both on and off the pitch."

The Stags are also looking forward to welcoming former players and members back to the club as part of the 80th anniversary celebrations.

Doonan added: "I would encourage anybody who has ever had contact with Huntingdon Rugby Club to come down and see the great club spirit at the Stags - plus the great rugby that is played by players of all ages - throughout this special season."