The showery weather didn’t dampen spirits as the youngsters of Huddersfield RUFC’s Age Grade section met up on the opening day of their ‘Golden Jubilee’ season. The children were joined by senior players past and present when they assembled for registration and their first training session of the 2019/20 season.
Yorkshire RFU President Dawn Rathmell, Kirklees Councillor Manisha Kaushik and England Women’s Under 20 international Bryony Field, who started her illustrious rugby career in the Huddersfield Age Grade, were in attendance to support the club on its special day.
Back in 1969 Huddersfield RUFC was the first club in the UK to establish a Mini and Junior Rugby Section. The man responsible for kick starting what has grown into the World wide Age Grade movement, former club President Bob Lumley, brought his sons Robert and Michael along to join him as he unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark his club as ‘The Birthplace of Mini and Junior Rugby’. Fifty years ago Robert and Michael were in the first cohort of youngsters to participate with Michael going on to become the club’s longest serving first team captain. In the years since 1969 other clubs followed Huddersfield’s lead and over the last half century thousands of children have been introduced to the game in the clubs.
Huddersfield RUFC’s Crown Green Bowling Section organised a barbeque lunch for children and parents on the day and other events are planned for later in the season. Head Coach at the club Gaz Lewis, himself a former club junior, said ‘It was an excellent day and great credit must go to all involved.’ Tracy Davis is the current Chair of the Age Grade at club. She extended thanks to all involved in organising the day commenting that she has had a lot of positive feedback and that ‘we have so much to be proud of at our club.’
Richard Sykes, Huddersfield Daily Examiner.