Tag rugby event proves big success

Inspired: Youngsters embrace tag rugby tournament at Garstang Rugby Club's Hudson Park
Inspired: Youngsters embrace tag rugby tournament at Garstang Rugby Club's Hudson Park

More than 150 youngsters descended on Garstang Rugby Union Club’s Hudson Park to take part in a mammoth tag rugby tournament.

Organised and led by businessman and rugby supporter Greg Hodgkinson, the festival is a new initiative to encourage youngsters to take up the sport.

Children from 10 Garstang and district primary schools entered the TAG Rugby competition, supported by the Garstang Club, Myerscough College and the Rugby Football Union.

Mr Hodgkinson, funeral director at L Stewart, Dimond and Son in Garstang said: “I always enjoyed my rugby as a kid and loved going for days out to play sport.

“I thought, how can we support the local schools and local rugby club? Have a big festival, give the children a fantastic experience playing rugby and with the club’s help, we might find the next Jonny Wilkinson.”

Mr Hodgkinson added the event was to help build the local rugby junior development programme following a £50,000 investment for the 17-year-old Garstang club from Sports England.

Bosses at the club, based off Lancaster Road are keen to welcome new players as part of a new three-year plan to bridge the gap between the junior and adult teams.

Bert Cross, who runs the junior section at Garstang RUFC, says everybody is welcome down at the club on Sunday mornings to give rugby a try.

The one-day event was co-ordinated by local RFU Rugby Development Team and community rugby coach Kai Burns, with help from sport coaching students from Myerscough College.

The ten local primary schools played in small group games and then qualified for their respective three competitions.

The inaugural winners of the Stewart Dimond Cup were the victorious players from Garstang Community who triumphed 2-1 over Forton in the grand final.

Bilsborrow John Cross CE Primary School picked up the festival shield, while Forton Primary School were awarded the festival trophy.

The schools involved included Garstang St Thomas, Scorton, Calder Vale, Bleasdale, St Helens Kirkland, St. Marys Claughton and St Michaels on Wyre.

Mr Hodgkinson added plans were in the making to turn the festival into an annual competition.

He said: “This annual event is destined to grow and hoped more of the outlying local schools may enter next year.”