IN some past years, Park lost a number of players from our under 17s and 18s age groups and on occasion teams have folded due to the reduced number of players.

To try to combat this Winnington introduced its academy for its U17s (junior colts) and U18s (senior colts) teams to make a concerted effort to keep these players involved in the game and to help with the transition from junior to senior rugby.

The academy is part of the senior set-up at the club and academy players train alongside our senior teams.

Coaching has been improved and the coaching teams now include those who have brought the teams from the age groups, but also our senior coaches along with current and former 1st XV players.

Seasons are structured to have free weekends during which players can play in our senior teams if they are assessed as being capable of doing so.

This gradual integration allows them to continue to play rugby with those of the same age but also get the opportunity to play adult rugby. We find this improves the player’s knowledge, experience and enjoyment of the game.

Last season 10 of our latest crop of senior colts played regularly for our senior sides with a number playing for our 1st XV. This is a massive boost for the club.

This coming season we have U17s and U18s team entered into the North West Colts league. It has been a number of seasons since we have been able to achieve this.

Currently we are 1 of only 8 clubs in the North West of England who are able to do this.

With teams in place form U6s through to U16s we hope to be able to achieve this every season in future and produce a steady stream of talent into our senior sides.

In the long run we believe this will start to improve the standard of rugby played at the club and as such our league standing.

Last season we had no U18s team. Our U17s finished second in League C and reached the county bowl final which was unfortunately cancelled due to Covid-19.

This season we hope both teams can be successful again.

As part of our academy programme we have developed links to local employers and colleges so that we can assist our young players take up apprenticeship opportunities that may be available.

This has been a very successful part of the academy. We hope to offer these opportunities again this season for our young players

As always we are looking to welcome new players. Make contact via or call Dave Allcock on 077932 48310.