On Wednesday October 7 Hurst College hosted a rugby open day for six local state schools.
Forest, Warden Park, Sackville, Oathall, Oakmeeds and Downlands were all in attendance.
The focus of the day was to give players from each of these schools an opportunity to receive some high quality coaching and then play a mini tournament in the afternoon.
Hurst’s rugby development officer Dave Valentine organised for three Harlequins Academy Coaches to be involved on the day. Academy head coach Howard Graham was joined by assistant coaches Warren Abrahams and Jim Evans, who were all involved in running skill sessions, designed to improve player understanding of the core skills of the game.
The morning session involved the players in a carousel of 6 core skill practices run by Hurst and the Harlequins coaches.
They worked on everything from their core handling skills to ‘roll and gadget’ presentation technique.
Rob Vincent, Head of P.E. at Oakmeeds Community School said: ‘The open day was extremely beneficial to our players.”
This was echoed across the board by all of the schools who attended. Moreover, it was opportunity for the coaches at the schools to have some CPD training.
James Gentry, Head of P.E. at Warden Park said: “It was a great opportunity for my coaches to develop their skills in a sport we do not focus on. The drills they learnt can be passed on to all our P.E. staff.’”
After lunch, each team had 3 mini matches against other teams. All the games were close and it was rewarding for the coaches and parents to see that skills the players had learned in the morning were being applied in the games.
Rob Kift, director of sport at Hurst, reflected on an excellent day of rugby saying: “It was pleasing to see so many youngsters really engaging with the game and the speed with which they improved was impressive.”
The most satisfying part of the whole experience was that all the students seemed to have genuinely enjoyed themselves whilst improving their rugby.
Hurst intends to run two more Open days, one for Year 7 students and one for Year 8. If there are any schools that are interested in being involved contact Dave Valentine at email@example.com.
Report and picture contributed by Hurst College.