Keighley RUFC is set to benefit from a RFU Rugby 365 floodlit artificial grass pitch (AGP) due for completion in time for the new season. The pitch is part of the RFU’s Rugby World Cup 2015 legacy of delivering over £50m investment over four year into the development of 100 AGPs across England.
The new facility will provide clubs across West Yorkshire community the chance to benefit from year-round rugby through the durability of the floodlit surface which will enable additional training sessions and more flexibility in playing times. As a result, the pitch is expected to increase rugby participation across clubs and community groups, further growing the sport.
“We at Keighley RUFC are delighted that the RFU have decided to build an Artificial Grass Pitch (AGP) on our grounds,” said Sam Griffin, Chairman of Keighley RUFC.
He adds “The modern 21st century pitch will allow junior and senior players across the community with the opportunity to train and play rugby throughout the season whatever the weather conditions. This exciting facility can be accessed by the local sporting community and will surely prove to be of great benefit to sport in Keighley and the surrounding district."
Three additional Rugby 365 Artificial Grass Pitches are also set for completion by next season in the West Midlands, Cambridgeshire and Durham.
The AGPs will be located at host clubs Billingham RFC, Stourbridge RFC and Shelford Rugby Club and follow on from completion of the first three AGPs in Buckinghamshire, Somerset and Lancashire at the end of last year.
England Rugby’s investment in AGPs is part of their Rugby World Cup 2015 legacy of delivering over £50m over four years into the development of 100 AGPs across England.
In four months of on-season usage since the first three Rugby 365 pitches opened in January, they have hosted over 250 matches and more than 30 festivals of rugby with a combined footfall of 20,000 players enjoying the experience.
The pitches are a community facility for all clubs, players and teams from across the area to benefit from and enjoy. Testament to the growth of the women’s game, one third of all bookings have involved women and girls and a third of bookings are by non-senior teams, showing great appetite from youth players.
“We hope the local community will embrace the new AGP and take advantage of the additional opportunities it provides people to play year-round rugby,” said Steve Grainger, RFU Rugby Development Director.
He adds “Since launching our first sites in January we have seen local clubs, schools and teams from across the local areas all embracing the opportunity to play on the world-class facilities without weather, darkness or lack of pitch access limiting their ability to enjoy this great game.”
Alongside the Rugby 365 programme, the RFU is investing £10m over four years into partner organisations to part-fund 40 Rugby Share pitches on community sites. The University of Hull and University of Gloucester are due for completion by next season and will offer even greater access to rugby across their respective communities through multi-sport AGP playing surfaces.
For more information on Artificial Grass Pitches, and to book a pitch near you, go to www.englandrugby.com/rugby365
Updated 08:57 - 20 Jul 2017 by Russell Gibson