8th September 2017, 15:27 | masters
The National Masters Festival takes place on this Saturday, September 9, at Blackpool's Stanley Park with registration at 12 noon.
All Masters, new and old, are very welcome to take part in what promises to be the biggest festival of the year.
Masters Rugby League is gearing up for the biggest festival of 2017 this weekend.
On Saturday, September 9, at Blackpool's Stanley Park, hundreds of Masters RL players (aged 35 and over) are set to turn out for the National Festival, which will feature teams from all over the country.
Saturday could be the biggest Masters Rugby League Festival ever and anyone over 35 is welcome to head along, whether as an individual or a team, with registration starting at 12pm.
You don't have to be part of a team to play in MASTERS #rugbyleague National Festival @ Blackpool on Sat 9th.— Masters Rugby League (@Paul_Mastersrl) September 6, 2017
You just need to be 35yrs+
It's been a groundbreaking tear for Masters Rugby League, with the 2017 National Masters Festival representing the culmination of another hugely successful festival season for Masters.
The festival season kicked off back in April with the Cumbria Festival, followed by the South East and Yorkshire events with the penultimate festival taking place in the North West in August.
The festivals have proved the catalyst for a substantial rise in the numbers of players taking part in Masters RL this season and the Rugby Football League's Head of Growth, Marc Lovering, was quick to pay tribute to those involved.
He said: "Masters RL is overseen by an incredibly hard-working group of volunteers.
"As a result of their efforts, we have seen over a 40 per cent rise in the numbers of players taking part in Masters RL in 2017 compared to 2016.
"They are a well-structured group which means they are able to support and encourage new players and activity across the country.
"The result has been a doubling of numbers up in Cumbria and in the North West, alongside a 25 per cent rise in participants in Yorkshire.
"That is a fantastic achievement by everyone involved in Masters RL."
Lovering is convinced that this year's growth will not be a one off, adding: "Every one of our community clubs that doesn’t have a Masters RL offer needs to seriously consider getting involved.
"Not only is it an enjoyable spectacle, there is a real focus on the social aspect of the game and that doesn't do bar revenues any harm!
"Off the pitch, the Masters have a great deal to offer. The fact they are willing to play on into their 40s, 50s and beyond shows how committed they are to the game and often means they have accumulated a great deal of experience and knowledge.
"At a time when the game is often short of volunteers, Masters RL can provide access to another pool of volunteers who can really add value to a club.
"The support network and camaraderie around Masters RL means, whether you are an individual or a club wanting to get involved, there will be somebody on hand to advise and guide you.
"The growth will continue as more people appreciate what Masters RL has to offer and the benefits it brings."