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England star Dylan Hartley visits North Walsham Rugby Club

PUBLISHED: 08:54 25 June 2019

England star Dylan Hartley poses for a picture with young rugby players at North Walsham Picture: RICHARD POLLEY

England star Dylan Hartley poses for a picture with young rugby players at North Walsham Picture: RICHARD POLLEY

Archant

There was a buzz of excitement around North Walsham's Scottow ground on Sunday when one of the biggest names in rugby paid a visit.

A couple of days after missing out on a place in England's initial World Cup training squad Dylan Hartley was getting involved in the grass roots game as part of the RFU/Nat West Rugby Taskforce weekend.

England's co-captain, who has been out of action since December with a knee injury, checked out on the work going on at Scottow and also passed on tips to youngsters, both on an off the pitch.

To the delight of the younger element Hartley joined in coaching sessions and then took part in a question and answer session in which he encouraged them, first and foremost, to enjoy the experience of playing the game.

"We are grateful to the RFU and NatWest for their support of grass roots rugby and for what has been a great weekend for everyone who took part," said Vikings' operations director Steve Morrell.

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A large number of young players, their parents and members of North Walsham's first team squad were at Scottow on both Saturday and Sunday to get involved in the taskforce weekend.

Thanks to a donation of £3,000 from the organisers refurbishment work to a covered area for disabled spectators, re-decoration to some of the changing rooms and a sprucing up of the outside of the Viking Bar was carried out.

It's all part of a big make-over at Scottow, with work having taken place on the playing surfaces and the surrounding areas as well as on the clubhouse, where work has begun to install a lift, enabling everyone to use the first floor social facilities. This £61,000 project, which includes a meeting room, will complete an upgrade to the upstairs, an improved kitchen and extended bar having been operational since 2016.

Hartley's visit opened with a tour of the clubhouse and grounds, where there was an opportunity to meet and greet with players and members.

He then conducted a coaching session with minis and juniors with support from club coaches in the running of drills.

After lunch a formal Q&A was staged with the 33-year-old Northampton Saints star while there was also an opportunity to get photos and autographs.

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