In a ground-breaking new partnership, Brooksby Melton College is to become home to Leicester’s rugby league club, Leicester Storm, with the two organisations aiming to work together to enhance the development of the sport within Leicestershire.
Following the £3.65million construction of state-of-the-art sports facilities, Brooksby Melton College will allow Leicester Storm the use of a new indoor sports hall, which includes a strength and conditioning gym equipped with weight-lifting stations, Watt Bikes, rowers and treadmills. Alongside this, the Storm’s players will be able to benefit from access to the latest in sports science equipment and performance analysis software.
Once opened, the club’s players will also be able to utilise the college’s brand-new all-weather 3G pitch for training purposes, whilst the Brooksby campus’ rugby pitch will become Leicester Storm’s new home ground for the 2015 Conference League South season, with the Storm’s fixture against Gloucestershire Warriors on Saturday 11th April the first to be held at the College.
The partnership between Leicester Storm and Brooksby Melton College will also provide students with access to high-quality rugby league coaching, with Brooksby Melton College set to establish a Rugby League Academy for students wishing to combine studies with the development of their rugby league talents.
Ty Watson, Chairman of Leicester Storm Rugby League Club, said:
“The facilities at Brooksby Melton College are amazing and it brings to an end a long search for a place that the Storm can call home. It’s nice to have found people with a similar vision for the sport of rugby league as ourselves with facilities that are second-to-none. Immediately, this move puts us right up there with the professional clubs in terms of facilities.
“We’re not here to compete against rugby union or anything like that; we’re here to offer an alternative during the summer months. The beauty of what Brooksby Melton College offers is that it can become the home of rugby league in Leicestershire and somewhere we can grow the game from youth level up. The players that have had a look at the facilities have been blown away by them. They can’t wait to move in and the atmosphere around the club is excellent. We only have a few weeks to go until the new season starts and the boys are looking forward to it. It’s very exciting times.”
Mark Bendle, Assistant Principal at Brooksby Melton College, added:
“Rugby league is an increasingly popular game and its season compliments the rugby union season. We were bowled over by Ty’s (Watson, Storm Chairman) enthusiasm and vision. He came in and talked through how he saw the game developing, in addition to Storm’s ambitions of becoming a professional club and we felt it fitted in with where we wanted to go in developing a reputation for sporting excellence.
““For us, hosting games is very exciting. It brings people into the college who normally wouldn’t come in. I think that rugby league is in itself an exciting game, it’s a fast-moving sport and in some ways it has different skill-sets to those of rugby union. I think there’s a real future for it in Leicestershire and I can see it appealing to young players in particular. The club structure that Leicester Storm offers is very inclusive and that’s good to help bring people on through the game.
“Sport is a growing area, so we’re hoping that the option to study sport here with a Rugby League Academy beside it will only increase the number of sports students we have with us. The academy model is very much one where students do their academic study for about 13-hours-a-week and then have a further 10 hours within a sports academy – and that can depend on that student’s ability; it could be a development academy or an elite academy, allowing students the ability to grow within their sport of choice. The chance to set up a rugby league academy allows us the opportunity to provide students with top quality rugby league coaching alongside their course of study.”
Alongside the arrival of Leicester Storm at Brooksby Melton College and plans to establish a Rugby League Academy, plans are also in development to establish new rugby league clubs across Leicestershire to form the Leicester Rugby League Association, providing a platform for talented players to remain within the game following the conclusion of their studies.
For more information on Leicester Storm, please visit www.leicesterstorm.com and for more on Brooksby Melton College, head to www.brooksbymelton.ac.uk.
Further details of the Leicester Rugby League Association can be found at www.lrla.co.uk