Peterlee Pumas

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Peterlee Pumas

Established May 2002


Founders: Rob Laverick

Club colours and badge: Navy, Sky, Amber

Current Home Venue: N/A previously Helford Road

Previous Home Venue(s): Peterlee Newtown Football Club


The Club was set up following a meeting of Gateshead Thunder Supporters and RFL development team after a Thunder Game to try to help the plight of the newly reformed professional club.To provide opportunities to the local community that had not been available before in playing, coaching, volunteering and refereeing.

Following some successful taster sessions in the former colliery of Wingate the club Initially set up on a spare disused field in Wingate Comprehensive School in May 2002. Although good numbers attended the junior training sessions, the facilities were not going to be suitable to attaining the club ambitions of being stand along self-sufficient Rugby club.  A meeting with Peterlee Town Council saw a speedy move to the Newtown Football Ground. Training started in the September of 2002 although numbers were significantly less until a local parent got involved and brought several friends at under 10 from a local school to the next session.

Parents were roped in as volunteers and coaches with the club able to work directly with RFL to arrange courses at the club. A sharp uptake of players and volunteers and the club soon had another age group at under 12 by the end of 2002. The teams played their first games as Friendlies against other North East Clubs, Wallsend and Whitley Bay by late October. By 2003 a women’s section had started up training and also a men’s team training with a view to arranging some Friendly games.

The Juniors section were training and playing all year round and numbers were growing consistently.  The club were working with local schools and hosting full contact primary school festivals with the volunteers from the club and local RFL development staff which helped recruitment of both players and volunteers and the teams performed well in the North East Leagues and Friendlies both in Winter and Summer Fixtures.

Initially there was some interest from local Soccer and Union players but most of the early Pumas adult team were people wanting to try the game out from the local area and by the time of the First Friendly in the Summer of the 2003 when they played the oldest North East team at the time Sunderland.  The Pumas one their first outing in a closely fought competitive game and went on to play further friendlies through the summer including home and away games against Wetherby, winning away and losing very badly on the return home game.

Other early friendly fixtures at open age became regular occasions in the early years with Selby and The Heavy Woolen Donkeys which helped build the club atmosphere with some great days out and even introducing the junior teams to Yorkshire opposition which prompted other clubs to come to the Pumas on tours.

2004 saw the Pumas Juniors continue to grow.  Games were now being played at Helford Road and the Peterlee Cricket club facilities were being utilised for changing and post-match hospitality.  The Women’s side fell away for a little while mainly due to lack of nearby opposition, the Men’s team were accepted into the North East League and played their first game against another veteran club Durham Tigers.   Peterlee got off to a great start on the County Durham Derby with a good win and had a very successful first season getting the North East Final against Newcastle, losing narrowly in a very physical match some naivety and lack of experience telling in the end.

The club also became the first in the North East to Achieve Club Mark status and also were able to secure funding for various projects to coach in the community. 2005 saw the juniors adding more teams, travelling often for more friendlies with the clubs in Yorkshire proving to help greatly with the development of players and coaches alike.  A new league structure in the North East of two divisions put the Pumas in the Premier division which meant also trips to London and Cumbria which proved to be a step too far with the Pumas struggling with results most of the season until finally getting a result at home to Penrith. Juniors were performing well in their games again and the Women’s set up were getting friendly games when they could. 2006 The club facilitated a combined North East Club, the North East Colliers to go into the Yorkshire league playing in the Winter, not the easiest of tasks getting the funding and the travelling proved to be a problem so the project was ended by the end of 2008. Despite the relatively small number of teams juniors continued to play and go from strength to strength.

The open aged team had another strong season getting through to the semifinals of the league.  Running two teams also with the 2nd team playing friendlies. 2007 Saw the Open age team compete well in the league and more development in the junior sections.  A lot of development at primary school level with the Pumas School festivals and annual event, the local Council sports development team started to get involved also to help with the Organisation. 2008 The Pumas had been able to work with the RFL, FA, Town Council and Northern Rock to secure funding towards a new Club House and Training facility.  The training facility a 3g 5 aside size pitch was opened now and meant the club could train under floodlights all year round.

2009 the new club house was opened 8 changing rooms, function hall and bar helped improve the home game experience for everyone. The Pumas Juniors continued to progress and strengthen able to attract players from a large area now as success lead to success, the Pumas teams at all age groups had been making regular appearances at the North East Finals and were putting on regular trips to play friendlies in Yorkshire still with ever more regularity as well as trips the Super league and international games. Open age lost in their second Grand Final to Jarrow Vikings at the Gateshead international stadium.

2010 Probably the strongest year the pumas were to experience, all Junior teams at every age group playing more games than ever before with each team getting through to their respective finals, a women’s team of very strong players playing in the Yorkshire league getting through to the play offs and the Men’s team through to another Final against Jarrow, the Pumas having won the league competition were able to host at home in the brand-new facility in front of a crowd upwards of around 500. Another final defeat in a close fought game. On the development side the club had coaches in most primary schools.

2011 Another Final for the Pumas, finally winning again, against Jarrow at the Vikings home Monkton.  Another bumper season for the Juniors with lots of success, some teams having double the number of players able to play in a game.  Due to the women’s fixture set up moving and clashing with other commitments the women’s team fell away. 2012 Saw a lot of the open age team start to retire and juniors started to come through from the second team set up.  Nothing to speak of results wise but the Juniors continued as strongly as ever. 2013 Saw Peterlee Open age admitted to the NCL, the 2nd team competed in the North East League 2nd division and acquitted themselves well but the 1st team Struggled in what was a huge step up in standard with a very young team a few good performances where the side got close but lost every game. Less teams at junior level saw the junior section contract a little this year.

2014 Still in the NCL, the Pumas improved greatly improved a few narrow misses in games they could have perhaps won, finally home win and the first North East team to win in the NCL against Wigan St Cuthbert’s at home saw a great night for the Pumas at the Helford Road Club house. Junior recruitment was still benefitting from having coaches in schools but there were less teams to play again.

2015 Due to the majority of the open age team going off to university or careers in the forces the Pumas had to withdraw from the NCL and basically play what had been their second team in the North East League. Junior section continued on with a primary school age team set up and under 14s. 2016-2019 All competitions contracting, recruitment became more difficult.  Founder Rob Laverick decided to call it a day and pursue other interests.  Some of the volunteers stayed on to keep the club going.

2020-2021 No games Played

2022, No games Played.