YDS practice days and coaching in 10th anniversary year

YDS 2021 end of year review

Almost 50 young people had the chance to learn more about trials with the ACU Western Youth Development Squad in 2021 - and next year in its 10th year there will be seven training sessions and 12 new practice sessions laid on.

As it was for us all, 2021 was a year of changing plans, cancelled events and quickly sorted alternatives. Despite the challenges, the ACU Western YDS continues to grow, with 49 youngsters accessing YDS coaching in 2021 at one or more of the 4 training days we got in between June and December. This included a large number of youngsters starting trials for the first time. As always the YDS only works with the support of the centre and its clubs, who have again sorted a wide variety of excellent venues for our super coaches to help the youngsters of the centre to develop their skills. This included the impromptu use of Roy Breakwell's barn to have a covid secure end of year, mini celebration.

A special thanks must go to the coaches (Ben, Dean, Vee (helped by James) and Stu) who give up their time for the sport they love and are so enthusiastic about what the YDS is there to achieve.

Simon said the YDS is primarily about helping people into the sport and supporting them to improve and stay in the sport, as well as putting their fair share back. It gives the YDS great pride that the giving back to the sport has been so evident this year. There aren't many Western events this year that didn't have a YDS (and/or their family members) putting in the flags, holding an observers board or signing you on.

There has also been some notable sporting success this year, with the James family really impressing on the national scene. Ben took the win in the final round of the D class British Championship to claim 4th overall and Edwyn got in the top 10 of the C class British Championships. Ben has 2 years and Edwyn 1 year left in their respective classes next year. Finley Belcher and Reece Legg have made the step up to the ultra-competitive British Experts Championship, showing some real grit during this learning year. Ellyn, Milly, Alec, Eddy and Aaron were all out at the Oset cup events and a couple of podium finishes were achieved.

On a local front, I am sure many of you have noticed every increasing YDS presence on the clubman, clubman expert and expert route. The kids are coming to knock the old guard off the top spot, something young Fin Kettle achieved, taking his first outright win.

With more YDS members moving up routes and competing on the national scene next year, 2022 should be one watch.2022 is also exciting for another reason as YDS has its 10 year anniversary. We still have Hugh and Vee (now coaching) from the very first session attending YDS!

With the huge generosity of the sponsors and the continued support of the ACU Western Board, we are able have 12 practice dates organised, alongside the 7 training days. Look out for updates on the ACU Western YDS Facebook page and/or the ACU Western website for regulations for the practice days. This year also sees the inaugural dedicated youth championship for C, D and E classes running in the centre.

Thanks to the clubs, sponsors, coaches, landowners and all the people that do those little bits behind the scenes (if you pick up the road arrows for me at the end of the day I love you for ever!).Keeps those feet up in 2022!


Simon Welch, YDS founder and co-ordinator

YDS Training dates

YDS Practice Days

[updated 30Dec2021]