By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
It’s time once again for some good old-fashioned mauling, ruckers and scrumming, followed up by merrymaking by a bruised and battered lot of the area’s roughest and toughest rugby players.
The kids and family are welcome, too.
Despite the bone-crushing, lip-bruising nature of the Monmouth Day celebration, where rugby players lay out their bodies on the pitch, Monmouth Rugby Club President Rob Morello says the annual homecoming bash is also a great family activity.
After all, the Red Bank-based club considers itself a big family that’s always looking to add on.
And Monmouth Day is the one time of the year where club progeny get to reconvene in the most intimate way with a triad of 80-minute rugby matches at Thompson Park in Lincroft.
“The real intention of it is to reach out to the community and some former players,” Morello said. “Definitely Monmouth Day is the perfect day to bring the kids out, and they can look at something they’ve probably never seen before.”
Then it’s party time.
Once the matches are over and the players are put back together, everybody will retreat to the club’s home base, the Wilde Rover, on Shrewsbury Avenue.
“In essence, it’s rugby and a party,” Morello said. “The rugby in itself is almost secondary to the party.”
The day also happens to be a big fundraising effort the club. Although the matches are free to watch, the after-party will cost you $20. There will be a barbecue, drinks and raffles, Morello said, as well as club attire for sale.
The club has become, in the last few months, a bit of a nomadic bunch. Although they have the Wilde Rover and play home games at Thompson Park, the practice field has, you could say, been pulled out from under the squad’s feet.
For years the club was practicing at the Village School in Middletown. Then one day, Morello says somebody in charge of the field told them they couldn’t practice there anymore. Morello hasn’t been able to get a straight answer from the town neither has redbankgreen as to why that happened. Since then, practices have been held at various locations in Middletown.
“We’re still homeless,” Morello said.
The club is working with some undisclosed entities to work out a deal for practice space, but Morello said they’re still somewhat hopeful something can get worked out with Middletown, which has been their practice home since the club’s inception in 1973.
Those worries will be put on hold for Saturday, though, when folks come together to celebrate yet another year of Monmouth ruggers.
First match is at 11a Saturday. Party at Wilde Rover should be sometime around 3p.
For more info, check out the club’s flier here: monmouth-day-invite-8