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Home > News > NW Schools duo heading for Twickenham
Your News NW Schools duo heading for Twickenham

TWO sets of primary school children from contrasting North West backgrounds will be united in the trip of a lifetime at Twickenham on Saturday (November 27, 2010) when they take part in a tag rugby Curtain Raiser ahead of the Investec International between England and South Africa.

Despite the title, Bleak Hill Primary School is located in urban St Helens, not far from the busy East Lancs road, while in sharp contrast, their opponents on the hallowed turf will be St Bees Village Primary School from West Cumbria, a rural outpost of the game.

Bleak Hills team got the surprise of their lives this week when they found out that the school had been chosen to represent the North West in front of a capacity 80,000 crowd.

Head Teacher Ian Wellens was delighted with the news: Its a tremendous honour for the school and it will be a day that the players will remember for the rest of their lives. We have built a fine sporting tradition over a number of years at Bleak Hill and we feel very proud to be playing at Twickenham.

Our thanks also go to St Helens Council, Lancashire Rugby and Ellisons Travel for helping with costs of transport. Its a big day for the children and we probably wouldnt have been able to participate in the event without some help.

Nobody envies Year 6 Teacher and Rugby Coach Chris Martin, whose job it will be to select the team for the big day.

RFU Community Rugby Coach John Foster said: Chris has been in charge of rugby at Bleak Hill for over 20 years and Im thrilled that his efforts have been recognised. He recently brought no less than seven teams to a Tag Rugby Festival at LSHs Moss Lane ground and it was clear that there is some outstanding talent coming through the ranks in Primary Schools in general and at Bleak Hill in particular.

Merseysides Rugby Development Officer, Mark Sutcliffe was also quick to praise the school and said: This will give the school the chance to showcase the talent in front of an audience of millions. Not many people get the chance to play at the home of rugby....but you never know....we may see the next Jonny Wilkinson running around at Twickenham in a few weeks time!

Sharing the Twickenham experience with the St Helens youngsters are a team from St Bees Village School on the West Coast of Cumbria.

The school is led by John Wood, a keen and enthusiastic individual who sees sport as a big part of his schools activities, with breakfast and after-school clubs an integral part of the day.

The school have been participating in the local RFU Rugby Development Programmes since the introduction of Coaches in 2001 and have built Tag Rugby into their list of activities. The school have a very good reputation for producing young sporting talent and this has been reflected in their recent successes winning their Local Cluster Tournament and qualifying to represent their District at the NW Finals in Manchester.

The pupils are a pleasure to work with and are extremely receptive to the coaching that they receive from members of my team. said RFU Development Officer Liam Nicholls: They have progressed as a school over the past nine years, regularly featuring in finals of their local competition.

Due to the way that the kids are taught basic movement skills in the curriculum they tend to produce some very good all round athletes.

Coaching within the school has not been delivered in isolation as the Community Coaches Martin Grealish & Russell Gainford - have developed an effective club school link, where around 80% of the current players are affiliated to Egremont RUFC, a key reason why the club has rekindled a thriving youth section.

The delivery of this rugby in school gives the players a firm grounding in rugby union and prepares them with basic skills required as they move to secondary school and progress to the contact version of the game.

The school have been selected through the Cumbria Rugby Union Tag 2 Twickenham Development Programme as not only winners in 2010, but due to the fact that the school have developed such strong links with their local club and a number of players have continued the sport out of school hours.

This Twickenham trip has been well earned over a number of years of hard work. Hopefully the players will be enthused by the performance of England and treasure the memories which they pick up on the day. said Nicholls. Our thanks go to the RFU for this fantastic opportunity and all the sponsors - Cumbria Rugby Union, Cumberland News Group, Cumbria Community Foundation and the Neighbourhood Forum - for making the trip possible.

Representing Bleak Hill at Twickenham will be: Bailey Morgan, Josh Simm, Adam Carr, James Cawley, Tolver Arnold, Tom Baines, Tom Ashcroft, Alex Virton, Megan Barlow, Lauren Prescott, Bliss Worsley, Annabelle Darlington, Jack Case and Lydia Curtayer.

On duty for St Bees will be: Jonathon Crichton, Sam Agnew, Ben Brock, Jack Gascoyne, Ethan Green, Joshua Hamand, Matthew Le Jeune, Harry Ollis, Jordan Palmer, Cameron Wood, Emilia Stakes, Louise Kelly, Leah Barnett, Wade Rickerby and Isaac Hinde.

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