TOM CHADWICK: Primary festival is a smash hit

Tom Chadwick's Junior Report
Tom Chadwick's Junior Report

This week the club hosted the first Primary School Tag Rugby Festival of the year.

Despite a number of previous events in February being cancelled due to poor weather, the turnout was fantastic with 15 of Scarborough’s 24 primary schools attending.

We always love putting on these events as they offer the children of the area a chance to play in competitive matches against one another.

However much coaches can try and replicate matches in training, more often than not, there is nothing more enjoyable for the younger ones then the chance of scoring a try in a proper game.

The event is designed to offer a true ‘rugby experience’ to all the children there. All of our referees are under instruction to allow the game to flow, and to reward positive play.

This makes for an enjoyable time for the players and hopefully a chance to go away with a positive memory.

These tournaments also allow players that have other commitments on a Sunday the chance to play rugby, which we’re delighted to offer.

As part of our commitment to the Active Youth scheme and helping the youth of the area, we also plans to host “Mega-Fests” over the summer too.

As I mentioned, 15 out of 24 primary schools were in attendance at our tournament on Wednesday, but these were the schools that were confident enough to put a team out for the event.

We’re well aware there are still a large amount of players in nine schools that didn’t get the opportunity.

The idea behind ‘Mega-Fests’ is to offer an afternoon where the club offers training and fun games to any children in the school that want to try rugby.

There is no direct competition, and schools can train and play in a group so that no player feels isolated.

We’re hoping that by offering this to all schools, for those that feel they aren’t quite ready to play in tournaments, we can at least offer some form of enjoyable rugby to their pupils so that each child gets an opportunity to play.

Last weekend, 15 players from our junior girls section went to watch England Ladies play in an international match.

Much to their delight, after making the long trip, the England players jumped into the crowd after the match and spent time with our girls, taking pictures and answering questions. This small gesture was a fantastic experience for our younger ones and I’m thrilled for them all.

Our girls section was only set up recently, but the number of players continues to grow every week, and we’re now reaching a point where the group are forming their own little community within the club.

New friendships are being made and the whole atmosphere around the teams is fantastic. This is exactly what Scarborough RUFC was set up to do, to offer those with a love for the sport a chance to play and to do so in a friendly environment.

On Friday of last week, I was invited to coach Scarborough Athletic’s Football Scholarship group. Very few of the players had any rugby experience but the session itself was very enjoyable.

The group were tested in ways which may not have seemed directly relevant to football at first but then they started to see the similarities between the sports.

Since my appointment at Scarborough RUFC, I have always said that if a child doesn’t want to play rugby but is happy playing another sport that is fantastic and should be encouraged.

I’ve also often spoken about the benefits of playing multiple sports and how they can be mutually beneficial to each other.

For any coaches thinking about how to adapt their sessions for a certain week, I’d recommend bringing in a new sport and offering it to your players. It’s new, interesting and offers a different challenge.

This weekend our minis will be playing away in Bridlington, while our under-13s will be playing in Guisborough. Our under-14s and 15s have a fixture against touring side Yarnbury and our under-16s are at home to York, 11am kick-off.

Lastly I just wanted to offer my congratulations to England for winning the six nations tournament in the penultimate round of the competition, the first time any side has achieved this.

Fresh from the disappointment of the world cup, this was the perfect response and hopefully will inspire our younger players.