Knights put through their paces as Heworth juniors takeover!

Published: 14 July, 2017 - 1:41 pm

By Oli Breslin

York City Knights hosted 180 junior players in a training session this week, as they held a Heworth ARLFC Takeover Night at York St John University Sports Park.

Players from each of Heworth’s 10 junior teams, aged 7-15, enjoyed an introduction from Knights coach James Ford, sessions with the clubs’ Strength and Conditioning staff, rugby drills and video analysis, as well as fun activities and coaching with the Knights Players.

The Takeover Night idea came about as part of the RFL’s Listening Club initiative; junior players at Community Clubs are asked their opinion of their club and the game, and the club then look to bring life to their ideas. Several of Heworth’s youngsters requested more involvement with the Knights, so Paul Harrison, Club Welfare Officer at Heworth and Neil Gulliver, York City Knights Foundation Manager, set about making their wishes a reality.

Harrison said: “We have a really good relationship with the Knights, this was backing  that up. They played a few games at Heworth and we are keen to develop that connection.

“Working with the Knights is always a pleasure. It was really straight forward working with the Foundation, I put in a call to Neil and the idea took off. The only hard bit was organising 180 kids!”

Harrison hailed the night and praised the work of Foundation, Knights chairman Jon Flatman and James Ford, saying: “The night was a fantastic success; the kids are all desperate to do it again. There is a massive appetite for rugby league in York and we are trying to grow and develop that.

“We really appreciate what Jon Flatman, Fordy and the club are doing for the game in the city, they are creating opportunities for Community Clubs on and off the field, and that’s really great.”

Harrison also praised the facilities at YSJU, adding: “The night was an excellent promotion for the Excel Programme. The facilities that York City Knights have access to really are Super League standard. If kids are serious about developing their game and fulfilling their potential, they can do it right here in York.”

In recent weeks, York City Knights Foundation has supported Applefields School’s sports week, arranged for Community Club curtain-raiser games at Bootham Crescent before Knights fixtures and worked with a local Scout group who were mascots for last weeks game against Hemel.

Gulliver hailed the Takeover night, and praised Heworth ARLFC: “It was great for us as a club to be asked to be involved with Heworth on this project,” he said

“We always try to engage with the Community Clubs when we can and getting so many players from each of the age groups to come together like this at York St John University Sports Park shows what a strong Community Club Heworth is. We have received some great feedback and hope we can use this as a model to be rolled out to our other Community Clubs in future.

“I would like to thank the players, parents and coaches of Heworth for attending and would especially like to thank Paul Harrison and Steve Towse for their time in helping make the night such a fantastic success.”