Community Rugby League Celebrates Record Growth in Hull

Category: Academy

Community Rugby League Celebrates Record Growth in Hull

The first year of a new and exciting era for grassroots rugby league in the area has seen an 11% increase in youth Rugby League participation levels!

Over the last two years, both professional clubs and the RFL have come together with the Hull & District Community RL and education representatives to form a new governance structure to steer the future of the sport, with the community game undergoing an ongoing programme to revamp the sport at community clubs and schools, from age 6 to 16.

The ongoing success was celebrated earlier this month, with a revamped City of Hull & District Rugby League Awards night bringing the curtain down on a fantastic year of progress for rugby league in the region, following the re-launch of the community & schools game.

Six Championship and Shield winning sides were represented at the special event at the Mercure Grange Park Hotel in Willerby, alongside a special guest line up from the Rugby Football League, Hull Kingston Rovers and Hull FC.

Both clubs were represented by Hull born first-team players, with Jordan Abdull and Jez Litten representing the Robins and Scott Taylor and Brad Fash representing the Black and Whites, whilst both club’s Head Coaches and Chief Executives were also in attendance.

Speaking about the event, City of Hull & District Community League Chairman, Steve Crooks, said: “It was an excellent evening celebrating so many good news stories about youth rugby league in this region at the moment.

“To have such high profile support from our professional clubs, with the CEOs, Head Coaches, Heads of Youth and local players from both teams in attendance speaks volumes of their support and the progress we have made.

“It is fantastic to see the sport growing and recognising those players and volunteers who are playing a key role in making that happen.”

United by Rugby League, which is the slogan for the group, the new partnership is already starting to bare fruit with a record 11% increase in junior players participating in the sport in the last 12 months, whilst further teams and leagues are hoped to be added in the new season.

A number of successful development days to help attract new players to the sport have also been held across the city, including days at Hull College Craven Park, Hull FC’s first-team training ground, and the University of Hull, which has encouraged over 70 new players to take up the sport, whilst newly established teams from Scunthorpe, Immingham and Bolsover have also taken part.

It isn’t just new players benefiting from the programme either, with a number of new match officials joining the local game under the guidance of the RFL, whilst Hull KR and Hull FC Academy players will be encouraged to undertake coaching and refereeing duties within the local game.

Hull KR Head of Youth John Bastian said: “Congratulations to everybody involved in the community game for the increase in participation, from the board, the community clubs, Hull FC, the RFL and ourselves.

Hull KR Head of Youth John Bastian said: “Congratulations to everybody involved in the community game for the increase in participation, from the board, the community clubs, Hull FC, the RFL and ourselves.

“11% is a significant rise in participation and hopefully that will continue to increase over the years. The celebration evening itself was outstanding. The parents, guardians and friends of the players enjoyed themselves alongside the players there. It was a really special night to be a part of.

“It’s important that we continue to back the community game, to try and continue the growth and the development of rugby league at grassroots level.

“We have plans in place at events across the community to have a presence, players will be involved in continuing to support this movement. The big one is to meet all the amateur clubs and recognise the great work that volunteers do within their organisations. Without them, I’m not sure we would be where we are as a game, so the biggest of congratulations always go to them.”

Both Hull KR and Hull FC continue to play an integral part in growing the game, with over 12,000 students taking part in SKYTry programme delivered by both professional clubs across a combined total of 140 schools, whilst female and disability rugby league also continues to grow in the area.

With a host of new companies also sponsoring the grassroots competitions, live cup draws on social media and a new-look competition structure, the image of junior rugby league in the city is undergoing an important transformation.

Marc Lovering, Director of Participation and Development at the Rugby Football League, also added: “The awards night didn’t only celebrate individual success, but also 11% growth of the game in Hull which is testament to the hard work of everybody involved, highlighting the value of a collaborative approach.

“The innovation and dedication shown in providing a refreshed player centric offer and an increased focus on development is the blueprint for the way game should be delivered.

“It is only possible from the support of the professional clubs who should be commended for the drive and emphasis they have put behind this project, as well as the volunteers, parents and players on which the game is fundamentally built.”

City of Hull & District Rugby League End of Season Award winners are below: 

Tier 2 Shield Winners – Cottingham Tigers U12s

Tier 2 Championship Winners – Hull Wyke U12s

Tier 3 Shield Winners – East Hull U13s

Tier 3 Championship Winners – Hull Wyke U13s

Tier 4 Shield Winners – Lambwath Lions U15s

Tier 4 Championship Winners – Skiralugh Bulls U14s

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