PICTURE SPECIAL: Super League Saints roar with Hindpool Tigers
THE cubs of Hindpool Tigers were out in force when St Helens visited Brisbane Park for a coaching session.
The Super League side spent time working with youngsters from the under-sixes to under-12s age groups as part of the Sky Try programme, going over everything from basic ball-handling skills to more advanced work.
Hindpool chairman Graham Shaw was delighted to welcome St Helens' community team, led by Ian Talbot, for a third year, and was impressed with what he saw.
"They did just over two hours working with players from under-six up to under-12," said Shaw.
"They did a bit of everything with everyone and the drills were a bit more in-depth with the older ones.
"St Helens put it on free of charge and it's the third year they've come, and they got a really good turn-out.
"I think they did four sessions in Cumbria and Hindpool's was easily the highest turn-out."
Shaw is optimistic of arranging another visit from St Helens next year, even if it means Hindpool funding it in some way.
The club are aiming to get out into the area to promote their thriving youth set-up and encourage more youngsters to take up playing rugby league as well.
"We do all right and we hold our own," said Shaw. "Hopefully, over the coming weeks, we can get into schools and do a few taster sessions depending on coaches' work commitments.
"The under-12s are doing quite well and are into the Top Four play-offs in the league, and they've got a cup semi-final, which they should hopefully win.
"That would be good because we haven't had a team in the final at Craven Park for a few years, so it's all pretty positive at the minute."
And Saints fan Shaw is hoping the visits of the six-time Super League champions will convert more of the next generation to supporting his team as well.
"The first year I took over, I made the mistake of taking them to Wigan and they all came back Wigan fans, so now I take them to St Helens," said Shaw.
"They were selling St Helens shirts off cheap after the session and it was good to see them all buying them up and coming to training the following Wednesday with them on."