CHILDREN have the chance to swap goals for tries and a round-shaped ball for an oval one after the formation of a new rugby union club.
Think of Denton and only one sport, football dominates – well maybe cricket too.
But John Gould is looking to change all that by forming Haughton Green Rugby Union Club.
And children of all ages can give it a ‘try’ by attending one of the sessions he is organising as he searches for enough players to form teams.
One common thought among parents can also be tackled – kids do not always get hurt playing rugby.
Mr Gould, a Gorton lad who played rugby league at Wright Robinson High School, revealed why he is starting a union club in the area.
He told the Correspondent: “I’ve played rugby union for most of my life for Aldwinians and my son plays for the Under-8s at Haughton Green Juniors.
“But what struck me was the amount of football clubs in the area and there was hardly anything to do with rugby.
“There’s something like 350 football clubs and only three rugby clubs. So a little thing was ringing in my head and I thought, ‘I can do that.’
“However, some sides – like Dukinfield and Aldwinians – have been going for about 80 years, we’ve only been about a few months so there’s a lot of work still to do.
“The area is dominated by football but I’m trying to turn that around. People instantly think of football for their kids unless you are a rugby supporter or come from a rugby family.
“And when people think about rugby, the perception often is, ‘You’re going to get hurt.’ Put simply, not everyone does.”
The club itself was only officially formed at the beginning of January but already interest is gathering.
Now it is hoped enough people come together to organise matches with other teams in the area – there is no competition in a league structure, just the old adage of playing for the love of the game.
“Until you reach what’s called colt level, which is Under-17s, matches are formed on a friendly basis between clubs,” he added.
“I’m not at that stage yet as I’m still setting up my teams but I hope to be at that stage in September – already we’ve got about 30 children across the age groups that are interested in playing.
“I have good links with other clubs in the area, so sorting fixtures out when we have the required numbers shouldn’t be a massive problem.
“I’ve already got enough to perhaps set up a side at the six or seven-years-old age group as they only play seven-a-side but I need to get enough to establish a 15-a-side team in other age groups.”
Mr Gould is already looking out for the next generation of talent after setting up a tots’ group, Ruckstarz, on Saturday mornings for children aged 18 months to five-years-old and has already had 5,000 leaflets in a bid to drum up support for Haughton Green RUFC.
• If you or your child are interested in joining up with Haughton Green RUFC, training sessions for 5-14-years-old are held every Sunday morning from 10.30am-12.30pm at Jackson Gardens. The tots session starts at 10.30am on Saturdays at the Green Park Centre on Bakewell Avenue, Haughton Green.
The first session is free, with a charge of £5 subsequently. If interested, contact John Gould on 07399 680639 or find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HGRUFC/