Founder of the Olympic Games Baron Pierre de Coubertin, once said: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning, but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well”.

Never may that motto have been more apt than for Creighton RUFC this season, as they prop up the Northern Division - Cumbria One League, with 16 losses from their 16 games to date.

It was always going to be a difficult year for the team, as a restructuring of the Cumbrian leagues meant the team had to decide between taking the step up to the division they are currently in, or being left pretty much playing friendlies most weeks.

So they opted to give it a go and, despite their winless record, the players and staff involved with the club, plough on week after week, convinced that the elusive win will arrive in the next game.

“We had the choice of going up a level, which was probably a step too high for us, or pretty much not playing any league rugby,” said Creighton manager Matt Liddle, who also plays as a front-rower.

“The lads just want to play rugby, and they want to be playing every week. So coming into this league, we knew it was going to be tough, but we just wanted to play, and try and compete basically.

“To try and improve the club and build the club, you’ve got to be playing league rugby week in, week out, and although it’s been difficult, we’ve gained a lot of new players and a lot of lads are getting experience at a higher level that, come next season or the season after, will bear fruit for them.”

Of course, suffering heavy defeats is never great – they even lost one game against top of the table St Benedict’s 90-0 earlier in the season – but things genuinely seem to be improving, as in the return fixture, Creighton went down to a much closer score of 46-11.

“We’re very close, and it’s building all the time. There’s a bit of a divide in the league. There’s six teams that are ruling the league and are probably a lot better than the bottom six teams,” said Liddle.

“It was always going to be the case, as two leagues were sort of shoved together.”

But their fortunes this campaign can actually be seen as an inspiration to others, as just watching Creighton’s players giving it everything, regardless of records and scorelines should show other athletes they too should never give up, even when times are tough, and things may not be going their way.

When suggested Creighton’s positive attitude in the face of adversity could be used as an example to others, Liddle said: “I don’t know about that but, while winning is great and everything, it is the camaraderie and togetherness of the club that keeps us coming.

“We’ve got a really good group, and I am happy to go out every week and put my body at risk for these lads.

“The coaches are keeping it fun, and after six or seven games, when we realised it was going to be tough, and some heads were going down, we said we were just going to have a go, enjoy ourselves and come off the pitch thinking we’ve given it everything we can.”

Club captain Dean Lambert echoed his manager’s comments, acknowledging that the love of the sport, and Creighton, outweighs the impact of the defeats.

“As a team, we’re very close-knit, we’re like a family together;” said Lambert. “So from my perspective, it’s seeing that person next to you giving it everything, that motivates you to give a little bit more as well.

“A win will come, and I think we’ll get it before the end of this season, but that isn’t the biggest motivation for me.

“I’ve played rugby all my life, and for Creighton since 2008, and I just love the sport and love the club. I would do anything for this club.”

Of course, it is not just the players and coaching staff who are suffering with each defeat. The supporters metaphorically kick every ball with them.

Yet still they turn up week upon week, with a belief that a win will happen.

They may not number those of the Premiership clubs, but for those that do attend, Creighton is as important to them as the likes of Leicester and Wasps are to their fan-base.

So in many respects, the players don’t just feel an obligation to win for their own pride, they feel they owe it to the hearty souls who watch them in all weathers.

“We do have a lot of past players and families who come to watch, and everybody is desperate for that win,” claimed Liddle.

“But we’re trying not to put too much pressure on the players by saying we have to win, but we stress we want to put in the performances, and we know a win will come as a by-product of that.”

While there are obvious lows that accompany a losing run, there is, perversely, one over-riding positive: imagining the celebrations when they do eventually get that win!

“You could say when we get that win it might be accompanied by a beer or two, or three, or five,” joked Lambert!

Creighton return to action next weekend, with another tough fixture away to fourth placed Wigton, who have won 12 of their 16 games, losing just one of their seven home matches.

It promises to be another difficult afternoon for Liddle and his players, but as they do every week, they will go into the game convinced that this will be the week their losing run comes to an end.

And in sport, you can always expect the unexpected. So, with that in mind, who are we to argue against it?