Today we introduce Thatto Heath Crusaders
Thatto Heath Crusaders was formed when the two hugely successful clubs of Thatto Heath ARLFC and St Helens Crusaders came together in 1999.
We have had some great developments over the last 20 years with the development of our own ground and club house, and more recently we have re-built our indoor 4G training barn after it was devastated by arson in January 2020.
Just last month we opened our new £600,000 hybrid pitch, jointly funded by us and generously through the Rugby Football League’s Created by World Cup 2021 legacy fund. The facility boasts a state-of-the-art hybrid pitch using grass and a hybrid matting that allows for more usage than traditional grass pitches and are less harsh on players than full artificial surfaces, floodlights and a full irrigation and automated watering system. This was a great boost for the club after our training barn being devasted by arson last year, thankfully now it is fully restored.
We have had more than our share of success on the pitch, having won every major trophy available to us in recent times, including the National Conference Premier Division Champions in 2011 & 2017, our ‘A’ Team becoming the first ‘A’ Team to lift the BARLA National Cup Winners in 2019 and North-West Counties Premier Division Champions most recently in 2017 & 2018. That added to a long history of success for our senior Men’s, Women’s teams, and Junior teams. It is fantastic when a club produces players like our former juniors who have played professionally at the highest level, such as Kevin Brown, James Graham and latterly Josh Simms who is part of the current Saints first team squad; but what we are proud of our numbers of young people who we keep engaged with rugby league, with a membership of over 500 we are arguably the largest community club in the game. It is great to see our open age teams packed with former junior players who have come through the ranks here at Thatto Heath and are still loving the game. We still have players training with our Masters team who are in their 60’s showing that our game is one of the most inclusive there is!
Teams at all age groups, Three open age men’s teams, mixed boys and girl’s teams from Tots (2-4 year olds), Cubs 4-6 year olds, Newbies (under 6’s), under 7’s up to under 11’s, then separate boys teams from under 11’s to under 18’s. Bespoke girls teams at under 11’s (years 6 in school), under 13’s (years 7 & 8 in school), under 14’s (years 9 in school) under 16’s (years 10 and 11 in school) and under 18’s (years 12 & 13 in college or left school), finally our Masters team for the over 35’s.
We are currently recruiting for our Women’s team after our last Women’s team wound up after most of our players were signed by professional clubs and are now gracing Women’s Super League!
When we call ourselves a community club, that is just what we are, we were the first community Rugby League Club to be to have the honour bestowed upon them of being Awarded the Queen’s Award for Volunteering in 2017. This recognised the great contribution of our network of volunteers who between them manage a pensioner’s ‘Buddies’ social club, we host football sessions for survivors of mental ill-health, our club hosts a provision for young people who have been excluded from school, holiday sports camps for children of the local housing association, and we have run projects to combat Anti-social behaviour in the local area. There also is a hub for those with interests outside of rugby league, we have darts and dominoes teams, and host the local pigeon racing group Our training barn is used by fitness classes, walking cricket for the over 50’s, local football teams and hundreds of members of the local community each week.
Check out Thatto Heaths promotional video here: