Brighton & Hove RL are a new club, founded just last year.
With a key focus on contributing to the growth in popularity and participation of Rugby League, their vision is “to grow a sustainable Rugby League club, culture and community in Brighton & Hove and the wider Sussex area”, and they continued their efforts in delivering this through a primary schools tag festival last week.
Phil Ward, Chair of Brighton & Hove RL, said: “Our goal has always been to get more people into Rugby League, so it’s fantastic to launch our schools programme by supporting this tag festival in conjunction with Emma Greenough, our SGO and Brighton & Hove Council.
“It was great to see so many kids picking up a rugby ball, many for the first time.”
It was the first step in Brighton & Hove RL’s schools programme, which will initially utilise the RLWC2021 activity and schools format to help drive activity, creating a sustainable schools Rugby League programme across Sussex, with Ward adding: “We want to build up the sport in Brighton in a sustainable way and we see a healthy schools game as an important place to start.”
In partnership with Brighton & Hove Council and Schools Games Organiser, the tag festival saw 25 primary schools compete, with over 300 players getting involved across the two sessions. Leaders from local school Cardinal Newman delivered RLWC2021 session plans through coaching before players took to the pitch again for games.
The festival also provided the platform needed to channel the enthusiasm into other events, with Ward keen to point out there’s more to come: “We’re really excited about hosting another festival to coincide with the Rugby League World Cup later this year.
“In addition to the primary tag festival, we’re also planning two contact 9s festivals for players in year 7 & 8 - one in the summer term and the second in October as the RLWC rolls round.”
It’s just the start for Brighton & Hove RL in their schools programme, and Phil Ward also outlined the overall aim: “In the long term, we’re hoping to put together a full competitive structure for schools rugby league across Sussex, so that we’re always introducing new people to this amazing sport.”
There’s a clear appetite for Rugby League in Brighton & Hove and the surrounding areas, and the work of Brighton & Hove RL club in the community is and will continue to be a major factor in the growth of the sport – the contribution of all involved in the festival ensured the event was successful, and will go a long way in the planning of future events as we approach the midway point in this exciting World Cup year.