OPOTIKI'S JAB Under-9s celebrate a victory against Te Teko last weekend, finishing 40 to 15. Photo supplied

OPOTIKI JAB is enjoying a strong start to the season with a team in each grade and 170 players involved.

Opotiki JAB gives children aged 5 to 13 years old, boys and girls, the opportunity to play rugby against their peers from across the Bay.

JAB Opotiki chairman Shane Chapman said it had been a good start to the season for the club, with 20 to 30 more players than last year.

“It seems to be going alright, we’re having good numbers,” he said.

The teams have had three games so far, with their next games on Saturday.

“They’ve only just started their season at the start of term two,” said Chapman.

“We’ve had a few good wins, a few losses.”

With a mixed start to the season in terms of results, Chapman said the players were showing a lot of promise once they found their footing.

“One thing, for me anyway, is that Opotiki kids are really naturally talented in rugby,” he said.

Chapman added than many of the players were returning from previous years, so already had a good grasp of the game.

“They’re really passionate about the game, all really talented kids.”

However, while the players take front and centre, Chapman also wishes to thank the coaches and parents who give up their time to help the children.

“We’re pretty lucky that we have a group of volunteers that contribute really strongly to our rugby club,” he said.

Chapman added that some mothers were also filling coaching roles this year, something new for the club.

“A few mums are filling those roles as well, it’s really awesome. I think they’re enjoying it just as much as the kids.

“And thanks to the community for supporting our kids.

“It’s another option for kids to improve their life skills, so we’re thankful to the community,” said Chapman.

For all parents and spectators, the kids will be playing this Saturday with games at 9.30am and 10.30am, all held at Memorial Park.