UP until Christmas, the under 7s squad (the Titans) at Old Penarthians Rugby Club had won all their league games and come second and third in a competition in Llantwit Major.
The Titans boasts the largest squad in the area with a great mix of children from all the local schools.
Since Christmas the 30 or so Titans had struggled to train or play any games due to the bad weather and waterlogged pitches. Head coach Stuart Barter arranged a match at the Cardiff Arms Park against Pentyrch which ended in a draw - three games each - a match he said the squad should have won. Since then the training has been sparse with no real match practice.
To put the energy back into their rugby, one of the Titans’ coaches, Ryan Pratt, arranged a ‘cross fit’ session at a gym he attends in Cardiff. Dragon Cross Fit, based in Curran Road, tailors the classes to the age groups and sports the children play. Like all good training sessions, the hour-long class was great fun but also testing for the 24 boys and girls who attended. Dragon Cross fit coach Sean Allen was very impressed by the fitness and understanding the children had towards exercise and complemented the Old Penarthians’ coaches on the squad's discipline, running speed and stamina; high praise from someone who has run 21 marathons! The squad went through various activities, including press-ups, sprints, long runs and jumps, all activities that are used on the rugby field.
At the end of the session Ryan explained that this type of session is not only fun and different for the children but keeps them fit and shows them the other side of sports training, without the ball! He added that, when the children are working in twos and threes, they are learning to work and play together which is great for team building.
Stuart Barter was very pleased with the session and hoped for kinder weather for a game on Sunday away at CRICC (Cardiff High School Old Boys), who have a great rugby reputation at all ages. He also explained that the squad was entered into two competitions in the spring, with two teams being entered in each so everyone had an opportunity to play and enjoy the game.