Headingley Hawks’ new under 12s rugby team is threatened by closure, just weeks after its under 13s team collapsed due to lack of interest.
Despite their best efforts, the U12′s are struggling to attract young players to join the new team, only filling 15 of the 25 spaces so far.
If they cannot complete their squad soon they say they will be forced into closure.
The news comes just weeks after the U13s had to disband, for the same reason.
Paul Jennings, the head coach of Headingley Hawks, said: “We’re losing kids. We struggle to attract local boys. We’ve only got a couple from Headingley and Meanwood, all the other boys travel from Crossgates, Bramley and Woodhouse.”
Mr Jennings, 49, of Farm Hill South in Meanwood, said: “The U13s collapsed before the season started and I don’t want the same to happen with the U12s. They’re a good team and I want them to carry on together.”
The under 12s and under 13s had been playing as one team, but the older boys had grown too big – meaning the team had to split into two.
But as a result, there had been a lack of interest in the U13′s and the older boys have been forced to leave the club and join the North Leeds Leopards’ rugby team in Moortown.
Dad Richard Coleman’s son Isaac played for the original team, and he’s now with the U12s.
Mr Coleman, 39, of Stonedene in Meanwood, said: “My son Isaac has been coming here for four years and there has always been a sense of team and family at Headingley Hawks. As soon as all of the boys started playing together from being eight and nine years old, they just clicked.
He added: “It was very sad when the U13s team collapsed, some of the kids took it harder than others. Isaac thought that he’d be with the team forever and then they just disbanded. For us, it’s a sense of community, it’s family thing here. It would be terrible if the U12s disbanded too.”
Mum Jackie Dickinson, 43, of Woodside Avenue in Meanwood, said: “When our season started we only had nine kids. It’s such a shame that they can’t get more players. They’re committed kids. They come out in all weathers. They’re absolutely dedicated to their team and their friends.”
Leeds Rhino’s and Leeds Rugby Foundation’s club development officer, Sam Horner, said: “We will strive to increase participation in Rugby League in Leeds. The Headingley Hawks are a member of our ambassador scheme and we will be working closely with them and monitoring the issue.”
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