GREAT EXPERIENCES: Spalding RFC was a hive of junior activity at the weekend.

Spalding RFC’s thriving juniors are learning life skills and making friends for life

With Spalding RFC’s first team not in action over the weekend, the club’s thriving junior section had the chance to take centre stage.

Every Sunday, more than 150 children can be found at Spalding’s base on Drain Bank North enjoying playing and training with their friends.

Youngsters are divided up into age groups and play modified rules which reflect their age and physical development.

The youngest players play a tag rugby game because there is no physical contact permitted until the under-9 age group – when they are coached to tackle correctly by RFU qualified coaches.

There is a gradual introduction of all physical contact so that youngsters are trained to understand the correct and safe way to play the game.

Town’s junior coaches are parents of players, all of who must be DBS checked and are also first aid qualified.

Many already have a Level One RFU coaching qualification and more will attend courses when COVID-19 restrictions allow.

There are about 15 fixtures against local clubs during the season, both home and away, and games are played in a friendly semi-competitive environment.

If there are unevenly matched teams they will swap players so that everyone gets some enjoyment from the game.

Spalding’s mini/junior coordinator Peppa Saunders said: “As a parent myself I want children to enjoy playing with their friends and in games to enjoy a safe competitive environment.

“However much we protect our children from competition it is something they will experience in life – so where better to experience it but in the safe, organised environment of a local sports field?

“The club promotes the ethos of respect and teamwork; great qualities we all need at some stage!

“In addition players make friends for life, get fit and have fun.”

Meanwhile, Spalding RFC’s first team return to Midlands Three East (South) action on Saturday when they host Northampton Men’s Own at the Memorial Field (2pm).

Town are ninth in the 12-team table, three points ahead of their opponents who sit tenth. Both sides are fighting relegation.

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