Fakenham’s foxy ladies scrum down for Craig

FAKENHAM FOXES                                                                                               'Fakenham Foxes, Craig Prior's Ladies and supporters get together before the first playing of the Craig Prior Memorial Cup ANL-140505-084451002
FAKENHAM FOXES 'Fakenham Foxes, Craig Prior's Ladies and supporters get together before the first playing of the Craig Prior Memorial Cup ANL-140505-084451002

Ladies rugby team, the Fakenham Foxes, have come out of a poor winter season fighting after the unexpected death of one of their supporters helped put their eyes back on the prize.

The only active ladies rugby club in the area was rocked after hearing about the sudden death of 18-year-old Craig Prior, who played for the male section of Fakenham Rugby Club.

Fakenham Foxes player and close friend of the Prior family, Amanda Warren, said, “We’ve had a lack of numbers both in training and for matches this winter which led us to believe we can’t continue.”

The ladies team was founded seven years ago, mainly due to Warren’s enthusiasm, and she was captain for six years only stepping down for the season just ended. She said: “Craig came to our matches, including one against Suffolk team Southwold Ladies the day before he died. He enjoyed watching our games and cheering us on.”

Craig’s enthusiasm and love of the game led to unprecedented support from club and his many friends for the creation of the Craig Prior Memorial Fund by the Prior family.

Headed by his brother, Roger, it has now raised nearly £10,000 for a new scrummage machine and a building for secure storage. The plan for the future is to raise more money to support Fakenham youngsters who are interested in the sport.

Nearly a dozen friends at Fakenham High School were inspired by Craig’s passion for the sport and they formed a touch-rugby team called Craig Prior’s Ladies.

Craig’s death has brought new life to ladies’ rugby in the area and now Amanda hopes that enthusiasm can be used to increase interest in the sport in Fakenham. She hopes that new players from Craig Prior’s Ladies will wish to take up the sport alongside the club’s small core of established players.

The player also hopes the publicity surrounding Craig will have made more people aware that Fakenham Rugby Club has a ladies’ section – the only one in the area.

At the match, Craig Prior’s Ladies gave a demonstration of touch rugby in aid of the Craig Prior Memorial Fund followed by Fakenham Foxes playing Southwold Ladies for the Craig Prior Memorial Cup, which is hoped will become an annual event.

Amanda said: “We lost, but for Craig’s sake we are determined to win next year.”

The team are always looking for new players and are keen to hear from anyone who would like to try their hand at the sport.

With plans for the Fakenham Foxes to continue playing league rugby next winter, there will be a perfect opportunity for those interested to attend touch rugby sessions for both men and ladies starting at the end of May. Held at the club ground at the top of Seppings Road, Fakenham, any new members will be welcome.

For more information about the teams and how you can get involved, call Amanda on 07730 877072 or email amanda-warren@sky.com

For more information about the charity, go to www.craigpriormemorialfund.co.uk