Pear Tree delight as Shaftoe stars

Mike Catt (centre) with Pear Tree pupils
Mike Catt (centre) with Pear Tree pupils
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IT may be the rugby union close season, but Fylde RFC’s community coach Peter Altham has had a busy and rewarding time.

Over the past few weeks, he has been coaching at Pear Tree Specialist School in Kirkham in preparation for big competitions at Preston Grasshoppers and Blackburn.

The sessions were based around tag rugby to give the young people an experience of a team sport with the challenge of communicating with each other and overcoming tasks working together.

The students at the school worked towards selection into the squad for the North Lancashire disability competition at Preston Grasshoppers and the annual North West disability competition at Blackburn.

Pear Tree started their first tournament of the season at Preston.

The day included five teams across North Lancashire.

Pear Tree did themselves proud throughout the tournament as they finished second overall.

The day was made special as Mike Catt, who had recently been named as England attack coach, came down to watch the tournament and presented the medals to Pear Tree and all the schools involved on the day.

The Wooden Spoon tag rugby festival was held at Blackburn RFC – the day included 14 schools from across the North West of England.

Pear Tree were grouped with Newbridge 3, from Oldham, and the Greenbank School, from Northwich.

In the first game, Pear Tree played Newbridge 3.

From the start, Pear Tree played fast flowing rugby and won 5-1.

In their second match, they lost to Greenbank 4-2.

Playing Newbridge again, they won 5-3 and then drew 5-5 with Greenbank.

Pear Tree finished second in the group stage and progressed to the Shield semi-final against Newbridge 1, from Liverpool, winning 6-3.

In the Shield final, they beat Tameside College, winning 5-4, with Sam Shaftoe getting the decisive score.

Out of 28 tries that Pear Tree scored, skipper Shaftoe scored an impressive 19 and was the school’s player of the competition.

Pear Tree’s endeavours were backed and sponsored by the Richard J Wilson Sports Foundation.