Bedford Junior Blues
The club has been providing rugby for children aged 6 -16 years old for over 30 years. In 2012 we provided a player pathway with the introducion of a Colts Section and in 2020, for the first time in our history, we launched a Senior Womens Team.
Being a member of the ‘Junior Blues’ builds lifelong friendships for the future. The coaches and committee members are all volunteers who have a keen interest in rugby, and in many cases, whose children have become rugby players.
Although the Junior Blues play their rugby at the home ground of Bedford Athletic Rugby Club in Wentworth Drive, they are linked to the senior club at Bedford Blues in Goldington Road, Bedford. As a member of the Junior Blues the children are given free entry into the homes games at Goldington Road. The junior section also provides ball boys for all of the Bedford Blues games at Goldington Road.
The Director of Rugby, Mike Rayer, is fully supportive of the Junior Section. Bedford Players are often seen at Bedford Athletic Rugby Club talking to the boys and girls in the mini and junior sections. They also fully participate with the age groups and from time to time get involved in coaching the children. The senior players also have their photos taken with each of the age groups at the beginning of each season. The mini section hosts an annual mini festival and the senior players support this event and present medals and trophies to the winning teams. The Junior Blues are also invited to play matches at Goldington Road either before or after a Senior Club game. For the children this is an exciting experience and probably the largest crowd they have played in front of.
The emphasis in the structured programme of coaching dictated by the Rugby Football Union (Age Grade Rugby – New Rules of Play) is to “improve individual skill through purposeful and enjoyable activity by gradual degrees so that players can participate in the full 15 a side game by the time they reach the Under 13 age group.
The ethos of this Club is to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for our children to learn this wonderful game. Every age group has RFU qualified Coaches. The message that is sent is loud and clear from the RFU, and one that I repeat now, as should the Coaches, is that Rugby must be fun. The win at all cost ethics has no place in our Club. That is not to say that there is anything wrong with winning, but success must be measured by the simple enjoyment of the players, their improvement in their individual and team skills as well as by the results on the field of play. A good coach will identify more opportunities for players from a match that has been lost, than a match that has been won, ultimately improving the standard of individuals and the squad as a whole. It is at a young age that we start to nurture the potential professional players of the future, but if we are honest very few of our players will reach those dizzy heights. Most will hopefully continue to be involved in the game at Junior Club level, local level or as Referees, Touch Judges, Coaches, Administrators or perhaps simply as a supporter.
Whatever the future holds for the next generation of rugby enthusiasts, it is the clubs and parents collective responsibility to ensure that their time with this Club is enjoyable and that they can look back on the experience in a positive light.