Success is child’s play at growing rugby club

John Cross (dark grey) v Forton  in a Garstang Rugby Club tag tournament for local primary schools.
John Cross (dark grey) v Forton in a Garstang Rugby Club tag tournament for local primary schools.
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Garstang Rugby Club has more than tripled the number of junior members on its books as it bids to make the area “a rugby town”.

With help from the Rugby Football Union, the Lancaster Road club now has 78 members ranging in age from four to 17.

The club, which formerly only took children from four to 12, prides itself on its all-inclusive ethos, enabling all children no matter their ability the chance to play.

Coach Rob Kerr said: “We want to develop children’s ability and skills and not put emphasis on competitions.

“Its about children having fun and playing with friends, so what we are trying to do is to be all-inclusive because children all develop at different rates.

“It’s about giving them all a chance constantly and not creating a club where just the best members get to play, but a place where all children can come down and enjoy themselves.

Bert Cross said that a partnership scheme was being set up to boost the club and the local community.

He said: “I used to run the junior section on my own as a low-key activity, then some of the parents volunteered to push it on a bit.

“We’re now helping them train up as coaches with the proper badges, and we’re also developing rugby partnerships with Myerscough College and Garstang Academy, with help from the RFU.

“The idea is that the students from Myerscough do voluntary work as part of their degree course. They will teach primary school children tag rugby, and they will also go to high schools to run rugby sessions.

“We will be paying for them to go on coaching courses, so it gives them experience for when they leave college and help them to achieve their ambitions.”

He added: “Hopefully, everyone will get something out of it, but the main idea is that we get more players to feed into the senior team and make Garstang a rugby town.

“The town is growing, and there seems to be a real appetite for the sport, but we’ve always struggled with numbers a bit because we’re between two big clubs – Preston Grasshoppers and the Vale of Lune.

“But we’re definitely growing now. We’ve got two senior teams, a ladies team, and we’ve passed our aim to get 75 juniors, with more to come.”

Mr Cross said the club had recently held a rugby camp for 53 youngsters and would be hosting a tag rugby festival on October 23 for local primary school pupils.