Nines festivals supporting Schools Rugby League in Oldham

Leeds Rhinos Foundation has been supporting Schools Rugby League in Oldham by delivering a series of Rugby League 9s festivals to hundreds of local school children.

The festivals were run by coaches from Leeds Rhinos Foundation and featured teams from Years 7 and 8, providing dozens of new players with an opportunity to try the sport and showcase their talents.

This follows the unprecedented success of the Sky Try 9s programme run in partnership with Leeds & Hunslet Schools, introduced as a stepping stone to the 13-a-side game to increase participation in the sport and promote the development of core skill such as speed, agility and teamwork at grassroots level.

In total, 14 different schools from across Oldham and more than 220 pupils competed in the festivals at Newman RC College. Each event was split into an Oldham Schools Cup and Oldham Schools Plate competition, with the following schools crowned champions:

Year 7 Cup: Saddleworth School
Year 7 Plate: Crompton House CofE

Year 8 Cup: Royton and Crompton Academy
Year 8 Plate: The Blue Coat School

The historical connection between Leeds Rhinos and Oldham is a long and illustrious one, with club legends Kevin Sinfield and Barrie McDermott both coming through the Oldham Schools system before turning professional, and Leeds Rhinos Foundation having delivered numerous sports camps in the area throughout the past decade.

Ian Hardman, Head of Schools Rugby at Leeds Rhinos Foundation, commented: “It has been great to support Schools Rugby League in Oldham again this summer.

“The response we’ve received from schools has been fantastic and the 9s festivals we’ve run have really showcased the amount of talent and enthusiasm that there is for rugby league in the area.”

In addition to the 9s competitions, 20 Year 10 pupils at Saddleworth School have also enjoyed the opportunity to complete a Rugby League Leaders Award, delivered by Leeds Rhinos Foundation. The award provides fantastic opportunities for students to gain experience in the roles of Coach, Match Official and Administrator; students undertaking this course will be able to develop their own independent learning, volunteering and leadership skills.

Gary Melling, PE Teacher at Saddleworth School, said: “All the students and staff enjoyed the 9s festivals immensely, and the opportunity for our students to extend their learning and development outside the classroom by completing the Rugby League Leaders Award has been fantastic.”

“The organisation and enthusiasm of the Leeds Rhinos Foundation team was fantastic, and we can’t wait for the next event!”

For more information on our Schools Rugby League coaching programmes and upcoming events, contact