It all started at Swanley Rugby Club’s annual end of season Oval Ball in May 2019, and after a discussion with the Chairman, followed by a committee meeting, it was agreed the club would launch a women’s team.
Seven weeks later they held their first training session on July 19th, 2019. Six women turned up for this session which was essentially just a fitness and basic rugby skills based workout.
Their vision for the women’s team was established early on, they wanted to become a team within Swanley RFC but have their own identity. The men’s team called themselves The Swans and the youth team was The Cygnets, so it was fitting that they came up with their own team name; The Black Swans.
Social media then played a huge part in the teams development and new players were starting to come and give rugby a go simply through word of mouth. Some came and went, whereas others found a love for a sport they never thought would be for them.
Strong team bonds and friendships were formed and by December last year The Black Swans had eight core players.
The Black Swans have been supporting other clubs in the local area by volunteering players, allowing them to gain match experience, build relationships, and establish themselves within the rugby community.
And while Covid-19 ended their first season abruptly, which has also made the short term future of grassroots rugby uncertain, The Black Swans and Swanley Rugby Club are striving to keep going from strength to strength.
The men’s first XV won promotion to the Shepherd Neame Kent 2 League and The Black Swans are now looking to join a ‘development’ league.
They also have plans off the pitch with a planning process in place for their clubhouse and pitch, something they hope to get sorted over the next 12 months.
A spokesperson for the team said: “In our first year we surpassed all of our expectations and we couldn’t be prouder of all our players and coaching staff and would like to thank the committee for backing us from the start and everyone who has supported us over the year”.
• The Black Swans pre-season starts in July on Wednesday evenings and any new members wishing to go along should contact the club through their social media pages. They are on Facebook and Instagram using the username @srfcblackswans.