SOCIAL rugby is set to return to Bridport Rugby Club this year after six years of only having the first team rugby, writes Andrew Livingston.

‘The Social XV’, will play friendly fixtures across the season with hopes to bring new and old players to the Brewery Ground.

Commissioned with captaining the side, London-born Charlie Crane, has lofty hopes for the club’s new venture.

He said: “My long term aim is to get the Social XV back into regular competition. I would like to make the new team a key part of the development of the younger players coming through from the Colts.

“Over the last few years I’ve been here, player retention hasn’t been an issue as such, more in terms of keeping those who are just on the periphery of the first team engaged in the club, which is what I aim to strengthen this year.”

With a new team, the 29-year-old is looking for new players with or without experience in the game.

He exclaimed: “I don’t think there is a better place to take up rugby than at Bridport, we’d welcome them with open arms.

“I moved to the area and joined solely for the social side of things in 2018 but quickly and easily settled in and felt at home.

“Pre-season has just begun on Wednesday evenings at the club, so now is the perfect time to join.”

In 2015, the second team dissipated due to dwindling interest in the sport in the local area.

Since the pandemic, however, the Blues have seen increasing numbers and interest in playing from individuals who had never played rugby before.

Joining just over three years ago, Crane opted to make the switch from playing football to rugby.

Crane recalled: “I remember after my first game, despite not really knowing anyone that I had played with, our chairman Julian (Hussey) came over and congratulated me on my debut then brought both my dad and I a drink.

“Not that I knew he was the chairman at the time, or even his name, but now thinking back on it, it was a big part of me staying and not returning to football.

“The club and players have been a huge part of my recovery from mental health struggles over that period of time so it’s genuinely an honour to represent them as the Social XV captain.”