A South Tyneside rugby club has changed its name in an appeal for locals to come and play for their home town team.
Formerly South Tyneside College RFC, South Shields RFC will play in Durham/Northumberland Three next season under their new name.
Daniel McKay, club manager at the club, believes the name change is likely to appeal to a larger group of people and encourage more to play for their home town team.
He said: “We have decided to branch out and appeal to a wider audience.
“By doing this, the locals will have an incentive to play for their home town team, and hopefully this will help the club climb the rugby pyramid.”
Having won just three of their 26 games last season, South Tyneside College’s record was only worsened by Hartlepool B.B.O.B.
However, there are plans in place to ensure South Shields bounce back at the first attempt.
“We are moving into our fourth year together as a group under the watchful eye of director of rugby, Tom Brooks, and assistant coach Stuart Robson,” McKay explained.
“Hopefully, this name change will draw in a number of new signings and may appeal more to new coaches, who may come in to work alongside the current regime.”
Although the new name moves away from the College’s name, the club are keeping their association with South Tyneside College and will continue to play their home games on the Westoe campus of the College.
And as well as the name change, there have been further changes off the pitch.
McKay said: “We have just had brand new floodlights fitted to replace the old ones, and the College has recently had new changing rooms and a fitness gym installed in the old Martec club too,” he continued.
The club also have a new club crest, created with the help of local graphic designer Sam Monkhouse, which aims to include as much of the towns history as possible.
The outline of the boat used by South Tyneside College, has been filled with a number of icons related to the town, including the College itself, the shipyards, the Roman Fort, the coal mines and most importantly, the lifeboat.
McKay said: “The lifeboat is a huge part of the town and the clubs history with the boat having been on the logo since we formed back in 1956.
“We believe the name change and new crest can benefit the club financially with local businesses committing their financial support the club, especially with away trips to Halifax and Richmondshire in the coming months.”
The changes off the pitch have led to players wanting to get back on the pitch.
“We are really excited to get started,” McKay said.
“We have a strong pre-season planned with a trip to Halifax RUFC and also across the water to Whitley Bay Rockcliff.
“This will set us up nicely for the first round of the cup and then Round One of Durham/Northumberland Three.”