Rugby team trying to get sport going in Clovis area

By Clarence Plank: Freedom New Mexico

The Clovis Nomads are a story of hard work and dedication in bringing something a little different to the city last year — rugby football.

David North, Vinny Comerford and two others met at Kelley’s Bar and Grill in Clovis and decided to field a team.

“Four years ago, it was horrible,” North said. “Three years ago we could only get six out to training and couldn’t get anymore people. Last year we started advertising, really started recruiting.”

After a couple of failures trying to get help from high schools and other places to play, the Nomads finally turned to Clovis.

“We went to the city…and said we want to try and start a rugby team, (and) could you help us?” North said. “The city said, ‘No problem. what do you want to do?’ They drove us around looking at different sites where we could play rugby.”

They settled on the AYSO Soccer fields at 14th and Norris. Jim Tidenberg of Welding and Repairing, Inc., a former rugby player himself, agreed to help sponsor the team.

The Nomads are a strange mix of Americans, a few English, Irish and South Africans, who played their first game last year and won against a young Texas Tech team, according to the press release. The Nomads finished the 2008-2009 season 3-3.

Comerford said the team is open to anyone.

“It gives you an outlet, and we’re trying to grow rugby here,” Comerford said. “So, if you have that as an outlet, then you would have something to do after school and not waste all that energy.”

North’s son, Andrew North, 17, has been playing rugby since age 5. He is also the kicker and punter for the Clovis High School Wildcats.

Andrew plays fly-half.

“It is like a quarterback, you call the plays and sort the players out,” the younger North said. He also kicks the goals for his team.

The Nomads started off the 2009-10 season with 30 players, who train regularly. The team joined the Rio Grande League, where they will be playing 10 games this season.

They’re planning a High Plains tournament in October. With the full schedule, the team is looking to fielding a second team.

Training nights are 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays behind the AYSO soccer fields, 14th and Norris.

Interested persons can call 505-629-7260 or 575-309-7683.