- North Lancashire clubs maintaining links
- Student fraternity value their roots
Friendships forged during the early days of rugby club involvement are often bonds that last a lifetime and those links have certainly stood the test of time among a group of clubs in North Lancashire.
Keeping tabs on teenagers who travel far and wide when they leave both their school and their club environment to become university students or to start work is always a challenge, but an initiative in Lancashire is helping to sustain the links and keep former club players involved in the game.
Eight clubs were involved in the most recent batch of Under 24 ex-Colts games and once again the reconnection process was successful.
“The players involved were aged between 17 and 24, which is not only a difficult age group for the clubs to manage, but also the age that players drift away from their local clubs due to education, work and other distractions.” said RFU Community Rugby Coach, Chris Lowden. “These games have been organised to re-engage players with their clubs when they return home for holiday breaks and to rekindle friendships by providing an opportunity to play and socialise with their mates once again.”
The games involved players from Preston Grasshoppers, Vale of Lune, Blackburn, Burnley, Ormskirk, West Park, Fylde and Fleetwood clubs, with over 120 players involved.
The ex-Colts games are in their third year and have grown both in the number of players and clubs involved, Ormskirk and West Park being the latest recruits.
The Ormskirk v West Park game involved a game of 7s rugby, Burnley’s visit to Blackburn and the game between Preston Grasshoppers and Vale of Lune both attracted 39 players back into the rugby fold and Fleetwood had 25 players ready for action at Fylde.
Each club that has become involved in the programme has been able to recruit directly from it and to use the scheme as a vehicle for getting players involved in O2 Touch and pre-season training at their clubs.