A tale of two pitches…both hugely successful and united by their community bond, their love of the same sport and a desire to see it thrive and increase support in the younger generation. Back in June I found myself knee high in grass meeting the brilliant Barns Green Rugby Club committee. They were busy improving access to their delightfully rural pitch in the middle of the Sussex countryside. They were throwing themselves simultaneously into a hugely successful membership drive and still find time to be one of the most successful charity fund raising clubs in the County – recently supporting the Wooden Spoon Rugby charitable fund (which has supported, among others, Horsham’s Springboard) and the County Air Ambulance.
Horsham Rugby Club’s Coolhurst ground also benefits from a rural outlook and from ongoing significant investment. I was delighted to attend the opening of their new artificial pitch last week, funded by the Rugby Football Union, as part of its £50m programme to promote the legacy of the Rugby World Cup. It is great to see the national body doing its utmost to support local amateur sport. The new all weather pitch will give our up and coming rugby players better opportunities to play the sport they love – not just HRUFC but other local teams. There was plenty of evidence of great enthusiasm in every age group on Saturday’s Festival of Rugby.
Local tennis has also received a funding boost. Recently the Lawn Tennis Association with Horsham District Council support helped redevelop the four tennis courts in Horsham Park, as a part of their national agenda to increase player numbers and grow the game. This national agenda has brought floodlit and newly resurfaced courts to the centre of town. I joined Jonathan Chowen from HDC to see the new tennis courts being put to good use at their launch and it was good to see youngsters really engaging with the game. Regular coaching sessions are available to those who want to improve their game or just want to take it up for the first time. Those who are interested in coaching or just playing should visit HorshamParkTennis.com for more information.
Photo caption: At Horsham Rugby Club on Saturday celebrating the RFU’s major investment in the new artificial pitch.