Gloucestershire Warriors Club History:
The Gloucestershire Warriors were formed in 1997 and since their first playing season the following summer, they have enjoyed their fair share of success.
Three divisional titles, two national semi finals and a Grand Final comprise the record of a team that prides itself on always being competitive and rises to whatever challenges are put in front of it.
The Cheltenham 9s is one such challenge and the players have been eagerly anticipating the first run out of the summer season. The Warriors last taste of 9s was back in 2006 when they were runners up to Liban Espoir in the Bristol & SW Nines hosted by the Bristol Sonics.
Following that competition, the Warriors earned promotion to the RLC Premier after nine seasons in the RLC Regional where, after winning Central Division in their second season in 1999, they found further success elusive as strong sides like Hemel Stags, Cardiff Demons and the London Skolars joined the section.
In 2005, all that was forgotten as the Warriors hit gold. They romped to the Midlands and South West title defeating old rivals Somerset Vikings in the final before progressing to the national Grand Final where they earned plaudits despite defeat to a strong Wetherby side.
On the strength of that performance, the Warriors were invited to play in the Challenge Cup in 2006 where they travelled for a Preliminary Round tie to Illingworth and stunned the competition with a 25-24 win becoming the first RLC side to win a Challenge Cup tie. The win earned a home tie with Blackbrook but the run ended as the North West Counties giants ran out 36-24 winners.
The 2006 summer season saw the Warriors dominate the Midlands and South West division and crush the Vikings 64-18 in the final. However the national semi final proved to be a step too far as Thorne Moor Marauders proved too strong.
The decision was then made to move up to the Midlands Premier and the players stepped up to earn a creditable third place in the table and though they lost to Nottingham Outlaws in the play offs, by any measure it was a successful campaign.
The 2008 season was disappointing as, for the first time in many seasons, the Warriors failed to reach the play-offs despite some tenacious performances. The following season the side again failed to reach the post-season play although they did field a number of youngsters who are likely to form the backbone of the club in future years.
The 2010 season saw the Warriors on the move and a new home was found at Old Richians RFC just outside Gloucester. Work off the field stepped up with two junior sides being formed, the Gloucester Meteors and the Cheltenham All Golds with ambitious plans to begin a West of England Junior Rugby League alongside Bristol Sonics and Swindon St George.
The Warriors' debut in the West of England proved to be a triumph as they went through the league campaign undefeated and were only defeated in the semi finals where Elmbridge Eagles - the eventual champions - were worthy winners.
Building on that success, the Warriors are looking to run a second team in the West of England division while the first team steps back up to the Midlands Premier division where they hope to give a good account of themselves.
With a strong and vibrant group of volunteers off the field and a talented group of players on it, the club has ambitions to take rugby league forward in Gloucestershire at all levels of the game and 2012 will see them do just that.