04:10PM, Tuesday 15 October 2019
Thousands of budding rugby players battled it out at Maidenhead Rugby Club on Sunday for the return of a popular junior sports festival.
The Mini’s Festival in Braywick Road saw 13 teams take part from under 7’s through to under 12’s, with the younger participants playing tag rugby.
Organised by Maidenhead RFC, the event attracted nearly 1,500 children, with clubs visiting from as far as Wimborne, in Dorset, and Tadley, in Hampshire.
After last year’s event was postponed due to hard ground, the festival battled the elements again but it didn’t stop youngsters getting stuck in.
One organiser Milena Balfe said: “Clubs consistently come back and this is the highest number we have had for a number of years.
“Clubs like Windsor, Henley and Farnborough, they are the ones that come back and this year [we have had] new clubs.
“People know it is genuinely a good festival. It was great. It is just a great thing for 12 and unders to get involved with.”
She added that players had responded positively, singling out the facilities that are available to them.
“It was really positive feedback. They thought it was well organised, playing teams they don’t normally play,” she said.
Maidenhead’s first team coach and former England World Cup winner Will Greenwood – who’s son is part of the under 11’s – wrote a piece for the event programme.
He said: “Very few players are lucky enough to get to a World Cup, but this great game of ours has shared benefits that provide a great experience and opportunity for all children.
“This is why I’m so passionate about getting children into rugby and why mini festivals are the absolute foundation for the ongoing success of our game.”
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