Islanders Begin 11th Year of Rugby Club

The Alameda Islanders rugby team huddles up.

The Alameda Rugby Islanders are ready to kick off its 2014 season on Feb. 8. The 2014 season will be the 11th year of the rugby club, which began in 2003.

The team and head coach Austin Britts have spent the entire month of January training for the upcoming season. The club held mini camps for the men’s under-19 squad on Saturday, Jan. 4 and Sunday, Jan. 5 at the soccer field near Alameda Point.

On Jan 12, the rugby club celebrated Alameda Recreation and Park Department’s decision to allow them to hold future practices at Tillman Park on Bay Farm Island.

Last year, the club spent a portion of the 2013 season in practice field limbo after not being able to train at its usual practice field near Wood Middle School due to mistakes made by the club while filing for permits with the city, according to a letter to the editor post by Britts. So having a permanent practice field is huge for the club.

The team has played scrimmages the past three weekends. On Jan. 11 they played the Napa Stormers, they took part in the 30h Annual Sac Valley Kickoff Tournament at Rancho Cordova High in Sacramento on Jan. 19 and defeated the Berkeley Rhinos 24-20 in a friendly on Jan. 25 in Berkeley.

The Islanders will take on the Cavaliers of Pleasanton on Feb. 8 in the first league match of 2014.

Jeremy Castro, then a teacher at Alameda High, founded the team in 2003. The team is made up of players attending Alameda and Encinal high schools, Alameda Science Technical Institute and Bay Area School of Enterprise high schools.