Upper Eden Rugby Club opened its doors to the community again this weekend, as part of England Rugby’s ‘Pitch Up for Rugby’ celebrations.
‘Pitch Up for Rugby’ is a new scheme designed to gradually get rugby going again after coronavirus brought the last season to an abrupt end. Rugby clubs in England are now permitted to play a non-contact version of the sport called Ready4Rugby, and the ‘Pitch Up’ weekend provided the perfect opportunity for players old and new to get involved and learn the rules of the adapted game, devised by the RFU.
Volunteers from Upper Eden organised the event at Pennine Park, and hosted eight six-a-side matches, with mixed age, mixed ability teams, each made up of female, male and junior players. Players and spectators also enjoyed a BBQ while they enjoyed the festivities long into the afternoon.
Club Chairman, Neil Marston, said: “It was fantastic to be able to welcome the local community back to the club again and everyone had a great time. There were players from our men’s, women’s and junior sections, and faces old and new. Some of our retired players returned to the pitch with their families, and the youngest participant was just five years old, which just goes to show that rugby really is a game for everyone. We look forward to hosting more community events as and when we can.”
This month, the RFU confirmed that the game had now moved to Stage D of the Return to Community Rugby Roadmap, which means that limited and adapted contact activity can now be included in training sessions, and inter-club touch rugby fixtures are allowed. However, there is still no confirmation about when full contact match play will be allowed to take place.
Upper Eden RUFC offers rugby training for women, men and junior age groups, and anyone interested in joining can email [email protected].