- Erith and Haberdasher Askes team up to give children more opportunities to play
- Many students play their first rugby match
Photo: RFU Archive
Erith Rugby Club and Haberdasher Askes Crayford Academy in Kent are building a significant partnership to increase participation and retain players by providing a clear route from school rugby to club rugby.
The club has arranged for their coach Larry Measure to take sessions at the newly built school as a way of introducing pupils to rugby and encouraging them to join their youth teams and subsequently support their senior team in a football dominated area.
Since early December 2013 Measure has been coaching across various year groups with a specific target group of years 9 and 10. He said: “With the enthusiasm and support of Head of PE Ravi Samjawon and his support staff, a Haberdashers XV has been able to play their first ever rugby match, against Erith RFC.
“It was some debut given the atrocious conditions of horizontal rain turning to hail in what felt like 100mph winds! However, not one player complained, in fact I'm sure most of them enjoyed it.
“The game was mightily contested with two contrasting styles, and played with a spirit and sportsmanship which I have endorsed during my coaching lessons. Praise must go to Tom Mahoney, who not only refereed but helped out with some on-field coaching at the same time.”
Askes squeezed home 15-10, but really the scoreline was irrelevant. This was about the boys having the opportunity to put on their boots and play a match, many for the first time, and forging a link to club rugby at Erith RFC.