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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Hawcoat Park RU juniors on the up

YOUTH rugby has taken a big stride forward at Hawcoat Park as the club expands its junior set-up.

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MUDDY MARVELS: The Hawcoat Park under-14s squad pictured after their game against Egremont HARRY ATKINSON REF: 50040333B000

The Barrow club have merged their young teams with those of open-age rivals Furness, giving them six sides across the age groups.

The established under-14s, under-15s and under-16s from Hawcoat have been bolstered by the move of the Blues’ under-nines, under-10s and under-12s sides across Abbey Road.

Hawcoat have enjoyed great success over the last 10 years, producing league champions, cup champions and national champions at various age groups in rugby union.

Players who have risen up the ranks are currently playing for the club’s first team, which has an average age of just 22 thanks to the fruits being born in the junior game.

The new set-up is now one of the largest in the county and junior coach Jason Meadows said: “This is a great opportunity for kids of all age groups to come along and play rugby union in a safe environment, utilising some great state-of-the-art equipment and using some of the playing training and facilities we have at the club.

“It is hoped we can link in with rugby league in the town at junior level to give kids a chance to play both codes and utilise the skills both games have to offer. Recently we had nearly 100 kids at the club playing rugby union, which I cannot remember happening in my 27 years playing and coaching there.

“It’s great to see and really enjoyed by players and spectators alike.”

He added: “This is great for Hawcoat Park with junior rugby the life blood of the section at our club. This can be seen by watching the first team which is not only top of the league but has an average age of 22. We believe in developing youngsters at all age groups so they too can go on to play the game at a higher level in the future.

“We still need to bolster the age groups and are currently undergoing a recruitment drive in schools around Barrow and the South Lakes with help from rugby development officer Gary Holmes.”

Park’s under-14s side were in action on Sunday, welcoming an experienced Egremont side to the club.

And despite horrendous conditions, and a 29-5 defeat, the Park youngsters put in a fine display.

Hawcoat started brightly, with great drives from prop forwards Tom Wright and debutant Joel Buchanan taking the ball into Egremont’s 22.

Some great rucking from Ewan James and Johnny Hutton wasn’t enough however, as the ball came out from the side of the ruck and the speedy away team’s back line took the opportunity to run nearly the full length of the pitch to touch down for a converted try.

Lewis Burrows tried time and again to release the back line, but great pressure from Egremont kept them at bay.

The centre duo of Harvey Jefferies and Jacques Oniel were giving their all in attack and defence, trying to break the Egremont line, but their efforts didn’t quite come off.

The away team demonstrated their counter-attacking skills again with a long-range try as conditions deteriorated, with driving rain sweeping across the pitch.

Hawcoat tried to make the most of this with some great runs from Joe Raey and Euan Holt. Egremont were giving a great account of themselves and only great tackling from Austin Meadows and Jack Osten kept the score down.

Wing men Bradley Wright and Jordan Ashton were doing all they could to keep the home team on the front foot, but couldn’t quite get over the whitewash.

The introduction of Declan Rodgers seemed to spur Hawcoat on, with the big number eight taking every opportunity to get his hands on the ball.

Full-back Benji Platt was having a great time trying to pick holes in the Egremont defence, but he couldn’t quite break through and the half ended 14-0 to the West Cumbrians.

Hawcoat started the second half brightly and Tommy Hogg jinked his way down the line but got hauled back as he was about to score.

Jordan Mutton and Conner Brown were driving the team deep into the away half, with Burrows and Coles trying to get good ball out but it was to no avail, and Egremont showed their greater experience by grabbing another three tries.

Finally Park were rewarded for all their hard work.

Spurred on by Buchanan, Meadows and Osten, Raey and Oniel made the most of forced errors to secure possession.

The forwards took control of the situation and Rodgers got his hands on the ball to drive his way over for the final score of the day.

Coaches Jason Meadows and Roger Coles were pleased with their side’s efforts, saying: “These boys are at a very early stage of learning and played some great stuff out there in some appalling conditions.

“Take nothing away from Egremont as they were brilliant, but our lads really need to learn from this and what we work on in training and to take it forward to the next game.

“They will become a great team in the future but have to work hard to get there.”

Hawcoat under-9s and under-10s were also in action at home to Carlisle, with some great rugby on display for all to enjoy with the away team eventually taking the spoils.

Hawcoat Park U14s: Tom Wright, Euan Holt, Joel Buchanan, Joe Raey, Ewan James, Jack Osten, Austin Meadows, Johnny Hutton, Lewis Burrows, Will Coles, Jordan Ashton, Harvey Jefferies, Jacques Oniel, Bradley Wright, Benji Platt, Conner Brown, Tommy Hogg, Jordan Mutton, Declan Rodgers.

lHawcoat are looking to recruit more players to their ever-expanding junior section with U9s, U10s, U11s and U12s training sessions taking place on Sunday mornings (11am-12.30pm) and U13s, U14s, U15s and U16s training on Wednesday evenings under the floodlights (from 6.15pm-7.30pm).

Anyone who fancies giving it a go can come along to training or call Jason Meadows on 01229 811856 for further information.

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