Marlborough Rugby Club's new bar area opened by England Womens International Ceri Large

Written by Neil Goodwin.

Ceri Large opens the new bar area watched by Head Coach Chris Budgen and Club President Charlie SheppyCeri Large opens the new bar area watched by Head Coach Chris Budgen and Club President Charlie SheppyAll the hard work over the summer at Marlborough RFC's clubhouse came to fruition on Saturday afternoon (20 September) when the new bar area was formally opened by England Women's Rugby International fly half, Ceri Large.

To mark the occasion, the opening coincided with Marlborough RFC 1st XV's first home match of the season against Bath's Combe Down, and the inaugral Marlborough Beer Festival which was open to everybody and made sure that the new facilities were put to good use.

The enlarged bar has tranformed the clubhouse into a social area, with large screen TV for watching live Internationals, Aviva Premiership matches, and likely the odd 'round ball' premiership match as well.

Club President Charlie Sheppy with main sponsors Mary Hardwidge of Community First and Jamie Hill of HillsClub President Charlie Sheppy with main sponsors Mary Hardwidge of Community First and Jamie Hill of HillsThe work was made possible by the award of a 'Lead Up & Legacy Transforming Social Spaces' grant from the RFU, aimed to provide a public area where next year's World Cup can be watched, and also by two major local sponsors - Community First and Hills.

Hosting the World Cup provides an opportunity to deliver a huge participation legacy for rugby union, and the RFU has committed a £10m investment across England which will create a network of over 500 Lead Up & Legacy Centres aimed at providing a platform on which club rugby participation throughout England can be built.

The award of the grant wil make a big difference to the club and how it can serve the local community.  "We will now have some of the best facilities in the area that local people from Marlborough and the surrounding villages can use.  The 2015 Rugby World Cup will inspire a new wave of people of all ages to become involved in rugby and this RFU investment will help our club to be even better equipped to welcome newcomers.” said Club Chairman, Gary Sharp. Jamie Hill of club sponsor Hills presenting Head Coach Chris Budgen with the new season’s playing kitJamie Hill of club sponsor Hills presenting Head Coach Chris Budgen with the new season’s playing kitEngland Womens Fly Half Ceri LargeEngland Womens Fly Half Ceri Large

Whilst a great day for those in the new Clubhouse bar, not quite so good for the 1st XV who were narrowly pipped 10-13 by Combe Down, but sorrows could be drowned later at the Beer Festival where Swindon's Mick O'Toole played later in the evening.

“Great to see the Club moving forward by being able to transform its social space and bar area in time for the RWC 2015.  This was only possible with help and support of the RFU, Community First, Hills Group, Marlborough area Board and the club Sponsors." added Club President, Charlie Sheppy.

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