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Dream of the Number 10 Shirt

An exclusive look at a new book about Mini Rugby...

I'm Stuart Evans, and I coach at Cobham RFC and I've written a fictional book about Mini Rugby which I'd like to share with you!Stuart Evans

Book Background

It's been quite a ride, starting at Under 5's, with a bag of bones called Matthew, flinging foam balls around, playing Bulldog, drinking cappuccino at the old clubhouse, and wondering how long this would last before we all got bored with it and settled for a Sunday lie in instead. 

"Have you thought about coaching?" said John Craig a few years later, as I stood there in my moon boots with another cappuccino in hand, watching the boys and girls getting used to their tag belts, squealing with delight at the sound of ripping velcro. I smiled politely, but in my head I said "you must be joking!" I played the game at secondary school, hated every minute of it, had never understood the rules and well, rugby wasn't my thing really. If Matt enjoyed it (which he did, most of the time), fine, but me? Coach?

"Have you thought about reffing?" said John Craig a few years later (are you getting to see a pattern here?), as I stood in my rugby boots, level one coaching done (in a monsoon at St John's), no time for cappuccinos any more, coaching the boys and girls as they got to grips with contact, and the joy of the parachute fall. I smiled politely, but in my head I said "me, referee!" I ran the line for my Dad when still in short trousers, in football matches at Fort Dunlop between Base Stores and the Systems Analysts, and that was stressful enough. I'd handed in the cork-handled flag long before Jonny Wilkinson was even born. Me? Referee rugby? 

"Would you do a match report?" said Ray Bradley. I've done quite a few of them, telling many a tale of heroism, comedy, injustice, tears, tantrums, reconciliations and endless craic, unfolding by a tent in many a distant field across this county and many others. It's been a lot of fun, and I can't believe we're only a season away from the end of minis. I'm going to make the most of it. Having shared these stories with followers of the team on the CRFC web site, I have come to realise how much I have seen and heard, how lucky I have been and what a great part of our family life rugby has become.

"Why don't you write a book about mini rugby?" said my wife Sarah. "Needs a catchy title," I said, trying to put her off. "Well, how about "The Dream of the Number 10 Shirt"?" she said. Hmm, I thought, maybe I could...

And here it is. "The Dream of the Number 10 Shirt" tells the story of Dan Westley, a ten year old boy who plays for the Old Hardcastles, a mini rugby team with a ferocious head coach, Jock McGibbin. The OH's aren't very successful. Nobody wants to play them. Dan wanted to join the top local club Rosehill, but couldn't even get on the waiting list. So he ends up at the OH's, a club that has seen better days, at the end of a bumpy road called Tipps Lane. And nothing goes to plan. He wants to be the fly half, but the coach prefers another player called Tim, who isn't much good and loves to wind Dan up, both at rugby and at school. Life at home isn't much better either, with Dan having difficulty getting on with his Dad Bill's partner Tess, who doesn't get rugby at all.

But Dan perseveres, and in the end gets to go on a memorable tour, where there is a World Cup theme. Will the OH's turn their season around? Will Rosehill go the season unbeaten? Will Tim get his come uppance? Well, I've put a few chapters on the CRFC web site to whet your appetite. Let me know what you think! If you like what you read, then there's plenty more to come....

"The Dream of the Number 10 Shirt" embodies the childhood dream of playing sport in a glamorous position, the number 10 having been worn by Jonny, Dan Carter and Michael Lynagh in rugby, as well as Pele, Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona in football. Is intended to appeal to children (and adults) on a number of levels. It's a fun story with lots of ups and downs, it will get those with a curiosity about rugby to want to know more, and it will get those who like rugby to love it even more. Hopefully! The book focuses on the game at grass roots level, and has been pitched to appeal to a broad spectrum, with strong boy and girl characters. It also gives some guidance on the good values of the sport (and the not so good), a few coaching tips sprinkled in and some food for thought for those who want to get more involved.


But those are my thoughts. Over to you! Enjoy the read, I hope it strikes a chord with you and please drop me a line with your feedback




Stuart Evans