THERE could be a new name on the local league scene next season, thanks to the thriving rugby section at Richard Huish College in Taunton.

This campaign has seen the college’s team finish runner-up in the AOC Premier Division, ahead of Exeter and Truro, who both have close links to Exeter Chiefs.

And, for the second season running, Huish are in the quarter-final play-offs and are due to play Hartpury 1st XV away on March 11.

The exciting new development is that they have set up Huish Tigers Rugby Football Club, a senior side to provide additional rugby for both ex-students and local players wanting a new challenge.

Chris Heal, Huish’s head of rugby for 12 years, is the mastermind behind the establishment of Huish Tigers.

Heal said: “The idea of the club is to give young people the opportunity to play some senior rugby in a structured but fun environment.

“Depending how hard they work will contribute to how successful we are as a club.

“We will look to run an Under-17/18 side and compete in the Somerset Cup next season.

“We are going to get a new pitch on Ash Meadows, which is behind where Huish currently play their games, and we are currently negotiating with the college to get a 21-year lease.

“From next September, hopefully we will be playing at Ash Meadows, which is exciting.

“I think we will be the first club since 1990 to form and join the league.”

Huish Tigers have already played some friendlies this season and have applied to go into the Somerset League for the 2020/21 campaign.

They will play their matches on a Saturday afternoon and will run alongside the Huish rugby programme.

“I hope that we will recruit enough players to run two sides on a Saturday as well as setting up a women’s section and running a veterans XV,” added Heal.

“We will have a core of six or seven players who will play for both the college side and for Huish Tigers next year, so we will have a conveyor belt of players coming through every year.”

College principal John Abbott has given Huish Tigers his full backing and said: “Huish has a long and rich tradition of working collaboratively with the local community around sport projects and partnerships.

“These have varied in target age group, skill level and sport, but have all had a common aspiration to improve the long-term health and wellbeing of the individuals that currently participate and those that will be encouraged to join.

“As such I am delighted that we have been able to further increase the range of these partnerships with the development of Huish Tigers Rugby Club.

“I am looking forward to seeing the club develop and hopefully catch a few games as the team launches itself into the league next season.”

Anyone who would like to find out more or sign up as a player for Huish Tigers should contact Chris Heal on 07549 785147.