Club’s focus on the future

NEXT GENERATION Dewsbury Celtic under-11s player Mariyah Hussain could be without a team next year.
NEXT GENERATION Dewsbury Celtic under-11s player Mariyah Hussain could be without a team next year.

A rugby league club that can trace its roots back to the 1870s is reaching out to the next generation of players.

Dewsbury Celtic may have been founded by the town’s Irish immigrants, but it wants to get boys and girls from all communities getting involved.

The club, which is based in Westtown, has begun a schools’ programme to find new recruits.

This week its coaches have been at Crossley Fields Junior and Infant School in Mirfield.

Vice chairman Matthew Oldroyd said: “Our under-10s were short of players so we’ve gone in to schools to deliver taster coaching sessions over a period of four weeks.

“Our coaches take over the PE lessons and offer the chance to play rugby league, which they don’t usually get.

“We get a certain amount of people through the doors, but we’re rugby supporters and we want other people playing.

“We also want to reflect our community in our teams. If we don’t reach out then we’re losing a lot of people who could potentially get involved.”

Club members are particularly keen to recruit more girls so that youngsters like under-11s player Mariyah Hussain can continue in the sport.

“We’ve got teams from under-sevens through to open age with on the boys’ side. I don’t think we’ll ever get the same amount of girls, but we’d like to get that progression,” Mr Oldroyd said.

“Mariyah started playing with a boys’ team and her brother coaches the under-11s. I went to watch them and I couldn’t believe this lass. She was getting in there and holding her own with all the lads.

“We’ve had girls leave in the past because the under-11s is the last year they can play with the boys, and we could be in a position where Mariyah doesn’t have a team to play in next year.

“One of our coaches, Shane Hussain, has got an older girls’ team going. Unfortunately, Mariyah will be too young to play for them.”

The club prides itself on giving everybody the opportunity to play, regardless of their ability.

And promoting the social aspect of the game is a big part of its ethos.

Mr Oldroyd said: “We like to win and that’s important in some respects, but it’s not the be all and end all.

“We just want to make kids better than when they came to us. They’re not all going to be Super League players, but you make friends for life.”

Contact 01924 462615 for more information.