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Gospel Oak win Camden tag festival as hosts Hampstead seek to engage the next generation

PUBLISHED: 10:00 13 October 2016

The Gospel Oak team (in green) show off their trophy after beating St Aloyius' (in red) in the A final at the Camden tag festival. Pic: Paolo Minoli

The Gospel Oak team (in green) show off their trophy after beating St Aloyius' (in red) in the A final at the Camden tag festival. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Archant

Hampstead Rugby Club continued their bid to get more youngsters involved in the sport by hosting a Camden tag festival on the Heath last Thursday.

Gospel Oak (in green) in action against St Aloyius in the A final. Pic: Paolo MinoliGospel Oak (in green) in action against St Aloyius in the A final. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Around 150 children from 12 of the borough’s primary schools took part in the tournament, which was won by Gospel Oak, who narrowly beat St Aloysius in the A final.

Brookfield, Emmanuel, Kentish Town, Primrose Hioll and Richard Cobden were among the other schools that were involved in the event, which was for children in Years 5 and 6 and included a B competition.

Hampstead helped to organise the afternoon and provided referees as part of their growing All Schools programme.

The club already have a thriving youth section, with sessions for boys and girls taking place on the Heath on Saturday mornings, and they remain committed to giving youngsters a taste of the sport and developing their talents.

The Primrose Hill squad. Pic: Paolo MinoliThe Primrose Hill squad. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Chairman Simon Taylor said: “We realise there is an untapped pool of potential within our local schools.

“There are so many kids with natural athletic ability who are keen to take up a sport, and we hope we can encourage them into rugby and hopefully into our club. If each of our teams just get three or four new recruits, it’s a game-changer for us.”

Shortly after last Thursday’s tag festival, Hampstead welcomed William Ellis’ Year 7 and 8 teams to the Heath for a coaching session.

Today (Thursday) the club are entertaining Year 7 and 8 girls from schools including Parliament Hill, La Sainte Union and University College School (UCL). That will be followed by an open morning this Saturday for all Under-13 girls who would like to try the sport.

Emmanuel (in yellow) on the attack against Kentish Town. Pic: Paolo MinoliEmmanuel (in yellow) on the attack against Kentish Town. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Hampstead are running classes at UCL and after half term they will be holding a lunchtime club at St Aloysius’ secondary school, in addition to providing coaching at Parliament Hill and La Sainte Union.

There are also plans to host introductory inter-school games for Year 7 to 10 boys on the Heath, and then repeat the exercise after Christmas.

Meanwhile, delegations from Hampstead are coaching the men’s first and second XVs at LSE (the London School of Economics and Political Science), and the hope is that some of the students will help out with the work in the local schools.

Similarly, the club have linked up with the girls’ side at London Metropolitan University – and their captain Barbara Sike is primed to be a regular coach for an Under-13 Hampstead girls’ team.

Any Under-13 girls who are interested in rugby can get involved in Hampstead’s open session this Saturday between 10.30am and 12.30pm at Parliament Hill fields, next to the running track.

Anyone interested in getting involved in the club’s junior rugby section in general should email juniors@hampsteadrugbyclub.co.uk

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