Nov 27, 2018
It wasn’t so long ago that I was writing about the rugby club, but a lot can happen in a year or two. Players come and go, teams evolve and clubs can entirely disappear. This is what happened to the fledgling Suzhou Hockey Club, while the Cricket Club, despite being reformed and re-homed within a new SIP location is no longer the weekly feature it once was.
In contrast, the Suzhou Rugby Club is a sporting organisation that has endured. Regular player numbers remain consistent, and the club still holds weekly training every Thursday evening for players of both sexes at all levels.
The club also still performs admirably in competitive fixtures having played well in Xiamen last calendar year, and found its form in recent weeks beating a Nanjing side 85-5 before going down 29-43 in Hangzhou. Although it was a defeat, and despite being a player down for long stretches of time, they held the home team well before fatigue played a telling role against what was a large squad both numerically and physically.
As nice as good results and winning is in sport, what is perhaps the most appealing quality of the club is the social side as it is a sociable place which is welcoming to everyone. Irrespective of age, ability, experience, one of the core features of the club is to have fun. Of course, it goes without saying that effort is also important on the pitch, but it’s about enjoying playing the game as well, which is what sport ultimately should be about: a case of process and product.
With a number of games still to come in this sporting year, and across a range of formats, the outlook is positive as far as club progress goes. It is also positive as the club is always happy to welcome new players into the fold and as a family friendly side being based out of Dulwich College appeals to players and spectators alike. It also boasts fantastic training facilities as far as city wide options go.
On that note, for anyone looking to play rugby while they are in Suzhou or the surrounding locality, or try a game as what is shaping up to be a very exciting Rugby World Cup approaches, I would suggest that this is a sporting option which is certainly worth investigating. Whether it is fitness or competition, or simply the social life that is sought, this is a club which is multifaceted in terms of the bases it covers. It also has strong ties to a number of other sporting, social and business fixtures making it a gateway to the city as literally as the Gate of the East is figuratively.
About the Column
Gareth Morris is a university language teacher. He is also a part-time doctoral student. Gareth first moved to China in 2005 and, after spending a couple of years back in the UK studying for his PGCE and Masters, has now returned to the city he calls home. During his time in China Gareth has travelled extensively. His travels have taken him from Beijing and Xian to Kunming and Haikou. He has also spent time in Hong Kong and Macao. In addition to this, Gareth has lived in a number of countries across Europe, North and Central America and Asia. Closer to home, Gareth has enjoyed visiting numerous localities within Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui. His Livingsu column will explore local places of interest found within walking distance of Metro line 1.