GROWING up in the town, there has always been healthy rivalry between football teams Witton and Northwich.

Nowadays, of course, there's two Northwich football clubs, one playing at Barnton the other ground sharing with their rivals at Wincham Park.

And maybe there’s more banter going on between Vics and 1874 than with their counterparts in red and white.

There is another much closer rivalry between the town's rugby union clubs, which has a shorter stroll between clubhouses than a walk around the home of English rugby ground at Twickenham.

From one clubhouse balcony you can see into the other clubhouse bar, the grounds separated only by a chain-link fence and if not for the area's infrastructure you could watch the action on both first-team pitches from each other's home ground.

Historically, Winnington Park, formed in 1907, were the leading team in the town.

However records show there was a newly formed Northwich Rugby Club playing roughly where Castle Private is now situated in 1880.

The current Northwich RUFC was established in 1965 as Mid-Cheshire College RUFC, and incidentally they used to play their home fixtures at Burrows Hill on fields where the Ecolab office now stands.

With the ever encroaching housing developments it’s reassuring that both clubs have secured leases from their respective landlords.

In recent times it’s fair to say at a senior level Northwich have surpassed their rivals to become the premier team in the town, playing consistently at level six in the RFU structure.

Northwich are currently in a challenge at the higher end of North One West, with Park mid-table of North West Division Two, although the clubs are aware league standings and fortunes can quickly change.

For 10 years Northwich had a very successful ladies section, gaining promotion three years running getting a finger tip hold on national level rugby, not a bad achievement for the town of Northwich with a relatively limited catchment area. Now Winnington Park have the mantle to seek similar success.

You can’t pick your neighbours but you can maintain a healthy respect where conflict only occurs on the field.

Over the years help has been offered by both clubs, no more so than during 2004 when catastrophic injury beset a Northwich player and both clubs combined forces in raising funds in support.

Winnington Park player Graham “Blobby” Richards sustained the same injury only a month later although not rugby related. Graham unfortunately died shortly after injury in the February, due to complications (gone but not forgotten my friend), and once again both teams came together in a tribute match.

Opportunities to brag have been taken by the clubs' players and supporters and a healthy rivalry continues. Both clubs having tasted success in cups, promotions and relegations.

Which of the town's sporting organisations can boast they provide participation for players ranging from under fives to over 60s, of both genders and mixed abilities, enjoying contact and non-contact versions of the game, having combined numbers total over 300 of the town's children and over 150 adults, with over 250 supporters regularly attending every weekend – our great sport rugby union.

It's an accomplishment to be proud of by two old adversaries, within kicking distance of each other.

Come along and join in with the teams of the town.