The programme ran during the half-term break from the 1st to the 4th of June with various age groups being catered for, with boys from year 7 to year 11 getting involved.
It has been a difficult period for the community game due to the Covid outbreak, however, Head of Operations at Castleford Tigers Foundation, Mat Lancaster, voiced his delight at seeing the sessions return this week.
“It has been absolutely fantastic!
“The community game has been back for the last few weeks now, so the lads have been back playing again, but to actually get them back down here on the Tigers Talent Pathway has been great.
“Obviously, it has been slightly difficult because we have been restricted in terms of numbers and having to turn people away is always hard.
“We can’t wait for when we can get back to full capacity and get everybody down here. The people that have come down this week have been brilliant, and it is just awesome to see kids back playing rugby league again.”
June’s sessions were fully booked for the entire week and Lancaster stated that this goes to show how much the players enjoy the programme, while also putting forward the positives that the coaches take out of it also.
“The players love coming down; they are enthusiastic, and they really enjoy the sessions, and it is the same for the coaches as well.
“On the TTP we are able to integrate the local community coaches into the programme and it is part of the CPD which runs all the way through the community and the community clubs.”
Darren Higgins, who is Castleford Tigers’ Head of Youth Performance, also expressed his joy of seeing the local players getting back to what they enjoy the most.
“It has been really good to have the sessions back!
“It is the first group of sessions we have been able to run this year due to the situation with Covid. We have had lots of players come down from the local game and local community clubs.
“All of the participants have had a smile on their faces with the ball in their hands and all of them have the dream of one day playing for Castleford Tigers.”
Although the TTP programme is primarily focussed on participation and enjoyment, it has also provided a route into the Tigers Academy and even to the first team.
In recent years players such as Sam Hall and Lewis Peachey have made that journey from TTP participant, entering the club’s academy and going on to make their Super League debuts.
Higgins identified these examples as being a massive incentive for youngsters to get involved and attempt to follow the same pathway.
“We have a fair few examples of players who have participated in the Tigers Talent Pathway programme that have gone on to represent the academy and even first team level.
“This programme is pretty well established as it has been running since 2015 and it think we have had over 700 players come through the door.
“The examples of lads going on to scholarship, academy and the lads that have made it to the Super League is really powerful for the young players in the local area who want to play for their local Super League team.
“We have real life examples of how that dream can be brought to life.”