World Cup boost could rejuvenate rugby league Workington
Last updated at 10:58, Friday, 20 July 2012
The Rugby League World Cup will bring a £450,000 revamp to Workington Town’s Derwent Park Stadium and club chairman Dave Bowden hopes it will secure the area’s love of the game for future generations.
The revamp of the stadium will include improvement to the lights, pitch, grandstand, seating and facilities including toilets, bars and an electronic scoreboard.
The bulk of the funding will come from Britain’s Energy Coast as well as some from Allerdale council and other sources.
Mr Bowden hopes the improvements will make for a better match-day experience for thousands of fans who are expected for each World Cup game and for the local fans who use the stadium every week.
He said: “Now we can work really hard to deliver a successful tournament and be part of the World Cup next year.
“We are trying to get as much of it done as possible by the start of next season.”
Derwent Park will host two rugby World Cup games in 2013: Scotland versus Italy and Scotland versus Tonga. Dates for the games have yet to be fixed.
The games will form part of the group stages of the tournament and include two of the three games in Group C.
Matches will be played in England, Wales, Ireland and France with the semi-finals at Wembley Stadium and the final at Old Trafford.
The tournament kicks off on October 26 with the final on November 30.
As well as bringing an international sporting event to the area, work will be done at grass roots level to reinvigorate rugby league in West Cumbria.
Mr Bowden said: “West Cumbria is often thought of as being rugby league heartland, and that the game has really strong roots and is going to carry on forever. But sadly that is not the case and the game isn’t as strong as it was 20 or 30 years ago.
“There are some brilliant people working with amateur clubs here and they need help to raise the profile of the game. I think the World Cup will hopefully do that.”
The three world-class teams will be based in West Cumbria for the games, including Scotland who could be here for up to 10 days.
All three squads will spend some time working with children in the local community and with amateur teams.
There are plans for a mini world cup with children from primary and secondary schools and a host of community activities to raise the profile of rugby league and promote the tournament.
Mr Bowden added: “We want to reinforce the game in villages and towns and get back to the levels of participation we have had.”
West Cumbrian rugby league already has close associations with the Scotland team.
Town full back Brett Carter was part of the last Scotland squad and will have the advantage of playing on his home turf if picked in the World Cup squad.
Ex-Town player Paddy Couper was also in the last Scottish squad.
Scotland’s head coach Steve McCormack has previously coached at Whitehaven, and assistant coach Dave Rotherham has coached at both Workington and Whitehaven clubs.
Workington Comets speedway team, who rent the stadium from Town, will also benefit from the revamp.
Comets owner Keith Denham said the plan for a revamp was fantastic news and would help to attract more people to watch the team.
Tickets for the World Cup games will go on general sale on October 26, 2012.
First published at 10:54, Friday, 20 July 2012
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
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