Voted Best Sports, Community or Arts Group at last week’s Boyz Award, the Kings Cross Steelers is the world’s first gay inclusive rugby union club. The team also hosts monthly party Ruggercub at the Two Brewers. Here, Supporters Secretary Gavin Mason explains how you can join in the fun, both on and off the pitch.
The Kings Cross Steelers were the world’s first gay inclusive rugby union club formed in 1995 and is now based in East London. Over 20 years later our membership has grown dramatically and sparked an international trend with more than 80 gay inclusive club’s worldwide all united in their love of rugby. We currently field four teams in multiple leagues across the UK, training twice during the week at our home grounds based in West Ham and the all-important match day on Saturdays.
I joined the club two years ago after attending an ‘introduction to rugby’ day. I immediately fell in love with the sport and the club, and have never looked back. It’s a fun way to spend your time, get fit and really get to grips with rugby. I’m surrounded by other likeminded and friendly guys in a welcoming and supportive environment. As you can imagine with a rugby club, the social side of things is pretty good too and there is always something to keep you occupied should you so wish.
The club attends several tours, a true rite of passage for any member of a rugby club and a highlight of the annual rugby calendar. Last year the club sent over 100 members to the Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament in Nashville Tennessee, attended by more than 45 gay inclusive teams, where we saw some great rugby and the Kings Cross Steelers 3rd XV returned victorious winning the Hoagland Vase. This year we will be going to the Union Cup in Madrid where our 1st XV hope to defend our title after winning in 2015.
We have great sponsors that have supported the club over the years including the Two Brewers and XXL. We also work with Jimmy Smith at the Two brewers on a monthly club night called Ruggercub, held on the first Friday of every month. It’s the perfect chance to come down and say hi to the club, have a few drinks and enjoy some of the best cabaret artists and DJs.
For anyone interested in rugby and joining the Steelers, whether on or off the pitch, the club welcomes everyone regardless of your prior experience or exposure to rugby. We have specialist training programmes including Pathway to Rugby, which in 12 weeks takes someone from never touching a rugby ball to playing their first match and taking their first steps into the game. Additionally, like any rugby club, we are always on the lookout for more experienced players who are looking for a new home and encourage you to get in touch.
The club also welcomes those who love the sport but can’t or don’t want to play it themselves and we have a healthy and thriving membership of supporters who are our fifth team, bravely facing the worst weather to shout much needed support from the pitch side and share a drink at the bar afterwards. If you’re interested in joining the Steelers family or want more information, further details can be found on pitchero.com/clubs/kingscrosssteelers, including contact details.