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Trout fishing for new era of Brent rugby

PUBLISHED: 13:18 27 May 2009 | UPDATED: 13:35 24 August 2010

By Ben Kosky JON Trout feels completely at home with Kilburn Cosmos – and hopes the wider community will too when the club s new ground opens later this summer. Trout, a native of north-east England, has just succeeded Phil Morgan as Cosmos chairman at a

By Ben Kosky

JON Trout feels completely at home with Kilburn Cosmos - and hopes the wider community will too when the club's new ground opens later this summer.

Trout, a native of north-east England, has just succeeded Phil Morgan as Cosmos chairman at a time when the club are working to embed themselves firmly at the heart of Brent.

From next season, Kilburn will be playing all their home games at the redeveloped Gladstone Park in Brondesbury, which now boasts both rugby and football pitches, floodlights and changing facilities, as well as the Gladstone Community Centre, part of which will serve as a clubhouse.

And the 31-year-old lock is determined to continue the work begun by his predecessor, who built strong links with Brent Council and schools in the borough to spread the appeal of rugby throughout the area.

Rugby union is often perceived to live in the shadow of elitism, but Trout stresses: "We haven't got generations of men in blazers dying to sit on committees, or shirts hanging on the wall of the clubhouse.

"Kilburn Cosmos represents the community we're in and could not be more down to earth. We've got a family atmosphere that stretches through the club and we also have the cheapest subscriptions in London.

"I moved to the area a few years ago, fancied playing rugby again and found a great club with a good social scene. It's actually made me feel more at home in this area than any other part of London I've lived in.

"Our goal is to make rugby more accessible to the entire community and the facilities at Gladstone Park are there to benefit everyone, not just Kilburn Cosmos."

The Cosmos currently field two men's teams and a women's side, as well as junior teams aged from nine to 13 - most of whom will be in action at an opening gala day for the new ground on Saturday September 5, just before the new season gets under way.

And maintaining the youth set-up is a key priority for the new chairman, who first began playing rugby at school after the Ashbrooke club in Sunderland ran a coaching programme for youngsters in the area.

"Phil's done so much work in setting up the junior section and there's also been a lot of support from the local community and the council," adds Trout, who has been with the club since 2006, but missed most of last season with a broken ankle.

"People want to see rugby develop around here and it's up to us to take it on. Our dream is to keep the junior section going long enough so that eventually it becomes the senior side, that's something to strive for.

"I want to get more squad players down to coach the kids on Sundays and to have more cross-over generally between the men's and women's teams."

Kilburn's first XV struggled in Herts/Middlesex Division One last year, sinking into relegation danger after a string of narrow losses and only a late rally hauled them into what was still a disappointing final position of eighth.

Yet the new chairman is confident of a better showing when the 2009-10 campaign gets under way, observing: "We ended up near the bottom, but we also ended up with a positive points difference and that's because we led in most of the games we lost.

"Hopefully better facilities will attract more people to play and watch rugby - and that goes for the opposition too. There were very few teams who joined us for a drink after the games here last season!

"I don't think there were any teams in this league we couldn't have beaten and there's no reason why we shouldn't be aiming high. Having a proper home ground is so energising for the whole club."

For more details about the opening gala at Gladstone Park - when Kilburn will do battle for the Browne's Cup with a number of local rivals - visit www.kilburncosmos.co.uk


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