Rugby ethos being backed by Island businesses

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An injection of £41,000 has been pumped into junior rugby for this season alone – more than likely a UK record – with main sponsors Moore Management being joined by Ashburton and Bedell Group in supporting the continued growth of the academy.

Moore Management, who have been with the academy since 2004, have now extended their involvement through to 2009 and will put in a further £67,000 over the next three years.

Having made the decision to compete in a Hampshire age-group league for the first time last season, the academy at St Peter now has U14s, U15s and U16s in regular county league action, as well as a healthy fixture list for the other nine age-groups.

The number of individual players recognised by the county has also grown and there are high hopes of a record number winning places with Hampshire’s A and B sides from U14 level upwards – perhaps not surprising given that the base level of youngsters at the club rose from 270 to 430 last season alone.

But, as virtually every sport in the Island knows only too well, developing young talent means exposing them to the best available competition – and that means the costly business of getting out of the Island.

Ashburton managing director Trevor Falle – an academy coach for the past seven years – said: ‘The need for more off-island competition had become crucial, and it was vital that the existing financial support provided by Moore Management was supplemented.

There is no better team sport, and businesses need effective teams to be successful.

These children are learning lessons for life.’ Michael Richardson, a partner of the Bedell Group, added: ‘The enthusiasm we’ve witnessed at the academy is infectious.

Rugby is a very positive game, fostering a sense of fair play and collective endeavour, and passing these principles and benefits on to future generations can only be a good thing.

We are delighted to help.’ Andrew Wignall, a director of Moore Management, who during the close season paid for a UK company to help academy officials create a strategic plan for future funding, commented: The JRFC academy is producing some future professionals, and that is fantastic, but we are equally proud that our money and support will enable the club to teach hundreds of young people the value of teamwork, responsibility and leadership.’ Having grown out of the Minis section that started in 1989, the academy now has about 80 voluntary helpers, led by chairman Nigel Metcalfe, who has high hopes for the season ahead.

He said: Once again the academy is breaking new ground by introducing more age-groups to UK competitions, so everyone is extremely grateful to our sponsors – without their support we could not continue to offer these great opportunities.’

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