Haywards Heath make the most of being back on the pitch

As soon as government restrictions for organised sport were lifted at the end of March, rugby was back on the pitches for Haywards Heath RFC at Whitemans Green in Cuckfield.

Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 4:04 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 4:06 pm
Haywards Heath under-16s practising line out drills before match against Hove on Sunday. Picture by Gareth Sumpter

The senior squad is back at regular Tuesday and Thursday evening training sessions with over 30 players under the lights looking to regain any fitness lost during lockdown.

The senior coaching team of Martin MacTaggart and Jim Taylor has been joined by Jack Emmerson, an experienced coach who is currently head of rugby at Hurst College.

New players aged 18 and over of all abilities are very welcome to join the squad – email [email protected] for more information.

Girls only touch rugby is taking place at Whitemans Green every Saturday morning at 9.30am all welcome

The youth squads - including a very popular Colts section - are playing every weekend until the end of May, with many junior age groups training midweek as well to make up for the rugby lost during lockdown.

Age groups are spread out across the day to ensure adequate pitch space is available.

All squads are eager to resume friendly fixtures as soon as possible and on Sunday the under-16s hosted Hove RFC for their first competitive fixture of the season.

Heath has strength and depth across their under-16s squad and this showed on the pitch where Heath ran out comfortable 50-0 winners, although it was obvious that both sides enjoyed getting back to testing their rugby skills in a match situation.

Jack Emmerson, head of rugby at Hurst College, has joined the Heath senior coaching team

The car park volunteer marshals need to be on duty from before 9am each Sunday to make sure the limited space is maximised as over 450 children across all the age groups gather along with the considerable number of new members - there are now over 60 under-6s playing every Sunday and many other age groups have attracted new players.

The under-15s and 16s have already planned a tour for the end of May travelling to Devon and Cornwall to play Ivybridge amongst other South West teams - already over 75 children and parents are in the touring party.

Saturday touch for all, men, women and children aged 11 and over, has proved popular and the club has launched a girls only touch rugby session for ages 11 and over at 9.30am on Saturday mornings to accommodate the growing interest in girls rugby which is launching at Heath for ages 12-14 next season.

See hhrfc.co.uk for more details and watch this space for more information about some special girls-only training camps over the summer.

It’s great to have rugby back and, with constant ongoing communication during lockdown, Heath members have stayed loyal to the club and the sport – making the need for a new clubhouse at Whitemans Green greater than ever to be able to fulfil the needs of such a large and vibrant grassroots rugby community.

If any local businesses are looking to activate their corporate social responsibility commitments in the Mid Sussex area, the club would like to hear from you since creating the new sports pavilion - which has full planning permission and considerable funds already raised - will meet the needs of current and future generations right across the Sussex area.