For the big challenges
Academy to give a boost to women’s rugby league
WIDNES VIKINGS are to launch a new Female Rugby League Academy which will be delivered in partnership with Cronton Sixth Form College, housed in their Centre of Sporting Excellence.
The new programme will create a pathway for girls to gain an education while having an opportunity to develop their rugby skills at the college and will launch in September next year.
After a ground-breaking year for the Vikings Women’s team, the partnership is designed to provide girls with a clear pathway to the first-team.
It will also help the club enhance their player pool for the 2020 season as there are currently no amateur or junior girls’ teams in Widnes.
The introduction of the Vikings Women’s team has already seen 15 girls from the town play the sport for the first time, jumping straight into a competitive Championship division.
Last season ended with back-to-back victories over the top two in the league as the Vikings picked up home wins over Stanningley and Wakefield Trinity, underlining the progress made since their first fixture.
Vikings’ head of education, Liam Clark, commented: “The launch of the Female Rugby League Academy is a huge step forward for girls’ rugby league in Widnes.
“Our Vikings Women’s team have made brilliant progress considering they are the only team in the town that provides girls with a chance to play competitive rugby league.
“This partnership with Cronton Sixth Form College will further enhance that progress in the coming years and give the club a chance to produce a larger pool of homegrown young talent.
“On behalf of Widnes Vikings, I’d like to thank Cronton Sixth Form College for extending their partnership and providing their Centre of Sporting Excellence as a base for the programme.
“Girls on the programme will also gain an education alongside their involvement in the academy, which falls in line with our ethos of providing youngsters with the opportunity to continue to further education or employment outside of the sport.”
Programme area leader for sport at Cronton Sixth Form College, Mark Brennan, added: “It’s great to see the women’s game growing and the pathway we have created in partnership with Widnes Vikings will give young female athletes the opportunity to study academic qualifications alongside developing their on-field performance.
“We are hoping that this pathway will be a catalyst for student athletes to develop skills that could take them to the 2021 World Cup or a chosen career that their study path will take them to.
“Whatever the student wishes to study, whether that be ‘A’ Levels or vocational, we can ensure they will have access to the Female Rugby Academy. ● For more information on how you can get involved in the Female Rugby League Academy programme, contact Mark Brennan via email at mark.brennan@Cronton.ac.uk
assistant to Paul Anderson when Huddersfield Giants played there in 2016.