Club-school links are just Champion for the Rockets

10th February 2017, 14:56

north_east

Club-school links are just Champion for the Rockets

"We have Newcastle-born children approaching adult rugby for whom Rugby League is their first and only sport, which was unheard of ten years ago."

Cramlington Rockets, a Rugby Football League National Club of the Year nominee, has seen two of its partner schools impress in Champion Schools, the biggest knockout Rugby League competition in the world.

Both King Edward VI School in Morpeth and Cramlington Learning Village (CLV) enjoy year-round coaching from Cramlington Rockets' community coaches meaning they have access to quality coaching and resources that has been making a real difference.

As a result, both schools recently found themselves in Sheffield for the quarter final stage of the national competition, having lifted the North East trophies in December.

Now with over 230 players across all ages, the Rockets have always aimed to develop strong links with local schools, conscious that for many children, this is where they will encounter Rugby League for the first time.

"We have Newcastle-born children approaching adult rugby for whom Rugby League is their first and only sport, which was unheard of ten years ago."

CLV Year 8s lift North East schools trophy

 

"If we can ensure that first experience is a positive and enjoyable one, then we can open their eyes to the sport from a young age," said Rockets Community Manager, Steven Beaty.

"We have Newcastle-born children approaching adult rugby for whom Rugby League is their first and only sport, which was unheard of ten years ago."

With the formation of Rockets Community in 2014 providing a greater structure for the community club to reach out to local schools, it has been a key driver for the club's recent surge in participation.

"In 2015, we added over 50 new players from schools we were coaching in," said Beaty.

"By being there to either coach the players or support the teachers, we are providing a visible route into community club Rugby League that has helped us grow as a club.

"We now have almost 30 partner schools and a strong pipeline of talent coming through for both ourselves and the North East."

The efforts of both King Edwards' Year 10s and CLV's Year 8s, both unbeaten throughout the regional competition, is proof the North East is becoming a force to be reckoned with.

And the fact that 80% of both squads are on the books of the Rockets can be considered no coincidence.

For the quarter finals, CLV had the dubious honour of taking on last year's winners, Castleford Academy.

With not much between the sides in the first period, when the game started to open up, attack outdid defence for both sides and the final score of 30-10 to Castleford reflected the quality of the reigning champions and the application of the first time quarter-finalists from Cramlington.

For King Edward, taking on Winifred Holtby from Hull, ferocious defence saw the Morpeth school 10-0 up at half time.

A second half surge from Winifred Hull took the score to 12-10 with two minutes to go before crossing at the final whistle to make it 18-10 to the Hull side.

"What an amazing journey this has been," commented Beaty.

"After going through the North East division undefeated, it was really important for the students and staff to experience that next level of competition.

"Given that both games were very competitive, I truly believe this has been a positive experience and everyone has learnt something from entering Champion Schools."

"We, as a community department, are so proud of the work that the teachers and students have put in and they deserve all the accolades.

"We are in an extremely privileged position where we get to develop Rugby League within schools but we know that all the success of this campaign is down to the staff and students really embracing the Rockets and the positive values that we bring."

If you would like Rockets Community to visit your school, email rocketscommunity@gmail.com.

For more information about the Rockets, who are currently recruiting across all age groups, visit cramlingtonrockets.co.uk.