Hares to Bears: Former March Town United vice-captain Welcher swaps football for rugby
PUBLISHED: 08:00 05 August 2011
FORMER March Town United vice-captain Marc Welcher has spoken out over his shock decision to switch from football to rugby - swapping the Hares for the Bears.
The 25-year-old has decided to play scrum-half for March Bears RUFC this season, rather than join Brett Whaley’s new-look squad’s promotion push in the Ridgeons First Division.
But Welcher, who became a key player at the GER after playing hundreds of games for the Hares, said he hoped he could help both clubs to success.
“I fancied a bit of a change,” he said. “I’m sure I will be pulling on a Hares shirt this season and I have already signed on but rugby will come first.
“When I’ve finished playing rugby I’ll still be heading straight down to the GER to watch the football. The club has been a big part of my life and I would never turn my back on them.
March Town United manager Brett Whaley on Marc Welcher
“He’s a top lad and he’s been honest from the start. He does want the club to do well and he understands that he can’t just play when he wants.
“Having said that, he’s a fantastic option for us and if he’s available and we need him then brilliant. We will keep in contact with him throughout the season but it won’t be a case of him coming straight back into the side.
“He was without doubt the best left back in the league and he was easily good enough to play at a higher level. He’s a massive loss.
“But I have no doubt in my mind that he will play for March Town United at some point this year.”
“I like to think that one week I’ll be scoring a try for March Bears and the next I’ll be popping up with a goal for March Town United.
“I’m a March lad through and through and it doesn’t matter what shape the ball is I’ll be giving my all.”
Welcher, a former Neale-Wade student, represented Peterborough United as a youth and also had a football scholarship with Cambridge City. He played his first game for the Hares aged 17.
“Obviously I’m sad that I’m not going to be fully involved in March football,” he said. “When I first joined we were ringing around on a Saturday morning to get a team out, so the club has come a long way both on and off the pitch.
March Bears president Barry Feetham on Marc Welcher
“I have known him for a long time and he has always been a very talented sportsman.
“He’s very competitive and versatile. We can play him at scrum half or in the backs and he’s a very welcome addition.
“At the end of the day, he will always shine - that’s just the nature of him. He’s used to winning and I can’t wait to see him play for the Bears.”
“With the players that March have got they should be competing with Wisbech every year in the Ridgeons Premier Division.”
But Welcher has also enjoyed success on the rugby pitch. As a youngster, he represented the county and captained his school’s side in a fixture at Twickenham.
“I’m a scrum half and I like to be right in the thick of it,” he said. “I’m five-foot-nine on a good day so that’s my best position.
“My dad is a huge rugby fan. I broke his heart when I told him I was going to play football so he’s happy again now.”
Welcher will make his debut for the Bears next month in the Greene King Super Premiere Merit League after the club’s appeal for promotion was successful.