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Touch programme brings in new recruits

17 July 2013

  • Summer touch project pays rich dividends
  • Influx of new players fuels fresh optimism
O2 Touch

Photo: RFU Archive

There was a time when Rowntree Nestle RUFC was renowned for having two soft centres, but more recently their resourcefulness in attracting new players to the club has put them in the rugby spotlight.

Faced with a dwindling player population and the prospect of extinction looming large, the club set about building connections and interest via an O2 Touch programme, which has proved hugely successful.

Their recruitment campaign focused on posters, emails and social networks, with over 500 likes on the Facebook page getting their message into the public domain.

York St John’s University was a primary target, but they also looked to pick up players coming into the area without a club and also to connect with friends of friends and persuade them to put a toe in the water.

“We ran six sessions on Tuesday nights through May and June,” said project organiser Patrick Tasker. “The numbers gradually built up from 17 on the first night to 31 on week six as the message spread and we had 51 players on our register at the close. We also had plenty of support from club members to referee games, so it was a team effort.

“We had a BBQ and drinks after the final session, which helped us to sign 10 new players. The most important thing is that these players have continued to come down for pre-season training, which has put the club back on track and we’re really looking forward to the new season having come close to folding the past two years.”

“This is a success story of a club with one senior team that plays in the local merit league and 16 months ago were in trouble of folding,” said East Yorkshire Rugby Development Officer James McKay. 

“Last summer they started a touch campaign to recruit additional players and this summer has seen all of the hard work pay off.

“Patrick Tasker, who once worked as a casual coach for the RFU, is now involved at the club as a player/committee member and was the driving force behind the activity this summer. I think this is a great advert for the product.”

Further details of rugby opportunities at Rowntree Nestle RUFC can be obtained from Patrick Tasker on 07528 790487.