For the first time in its 21-season history Barnstoneworth United Football Club is gunning to field junior teams in 2019, an exciting move the red and whites have made to try and ensure their longevity and also continue promoting the game.
The club has continually grown in recent seasons and fielded six senior sides across Orange District Football Association's A Grade, B Grade and Over-35 competitions in 2018 but with no juniors to speak of the club's future remained somewhat of an unknown.
With that in mind the decision was made at last weekend's annual general meeting to make a push at fielding some junior teams in the coming season, with an eye on growing that base in future years.
It already seems to be paying off too, with vice-president and coaching director Chris Jacobs saying there's been a whirlwind of interest already, particularly at the under-6 level.
"We're encouraging players, boys and girls, to join across all age groups and hopefully we'll get as many teams as we can, it'll be a few weeks before we know how that pans out but we've had a great response so far especially for under-6 teams," Jacobs, one of the driving forces behind the move, said.
"It's about the growing the club. There has been some pressure to start a junior club for a while but we've got into gear now, the committee and players are all very excited about it.
"We look at clubs like Waratahs, Ex-Services and even CYMS and they've always been very strong, so if we want to continue being a presence like those clubs we needed to build a junior base."
The decision presents a unique opportunity for Jacobs and his family as well, with three generations set to don a Barnstoneworth jersey in 2019.
Chris will again play over 35s and his son Mitch will take the field in the senior grades, while two of his granddaughters Olivia Logan and Ruby Phillips will both start their on-field journeys as well.
"That is very exciting," Jacobs beamed.
"The grandkids are ready to play. We've always regarded Barnstoneworth as a family club and now we can say that we're a true family club.
"It is like a little community Barnstoneworth, there's always been a lot of kids involved so the whole idea was partly to make the club even more family-friendly and my vision going forward is that will continue to grow.
"Hopefully [all the kids] grow to love the game the way I have over the years."
Barnstoneworth will host sign-on and information days for any interested players, senior or junior, at Jack Brabham Park from 1-3pm on Saturdays, February 16 and 23, outside the ODFA building on the Huntley Road side of the precinct.
With no obligation to sign up Jacobs said interested players can turn up and speak to him and other club officials about what Barnstoneworth has to offer, ahead of the 2019 seasons.
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