DORCHESTER RFC’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 by the youth section committee and has been involved with the club as a player and coach since the mid-1980s.
He has played nearly 500 games for the club, 300 of them for the first team where he captained a winning team in a cup final and he 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 come to the end of a fantastic journey with the current under-16s, and these are the third group of young people 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, an unforgettable time for all who were involved and witnessed the game.
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.
“Everyone involved in rugby knows how it gets inside us and takes over our lives during the winter months.
“Sprules, like all the other coaches, is dedicated to the club and his age group of boys and he regularly turns out to inspect the pitches in poor weather and liaises with the senior committee.
“As a coach, he is there every week for training and on Sundays for matches, injecting 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.”