Harlequins and England rugby international Shaunagh Brown was at Oriel High School in Crawley last week to officially open the school’s new full-size, floodlit third-generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP). The project was made possible thanks to close working with the school's facilities management provider, BAM FM, West Sussex County Council and Crawley Rugby Club. 

Shaunagh Brown, who before professional rugby, had a career in athletics, where she represented England in the hammer throw at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, opened the new 3G AGP, the first facility of this type in Crawley. 


The new pitch will allow Oriel High School to provide students and members of the local community with a safe and secure environment to participate in sport all year round. The school will aim to build on its inclusive ethos to offer competitive rugby and football opportunities to all children, irrespective of ability, and enable pupils to reach their full potential and guide talented individuals into appropriate club and coaching settings. 

Strong partnerships are already in place with local grassroots club Crawley Rugby Club who will regularly use the new 3G AGP for training and matches. The club, previous winners of the accolade of National Rugby Club of the Year award, currently run 18 teams and are strongly committed to attracting new participants, particularly amongst girls. This ties in perfectly with the school’s future plans.

The school worked in partnership with BAM FM and West Sussex County Council to secure government funding for the new facility. 

Shaunagh Brown at Oriel High School
By providing more high-quality facilities, coupled with coaching at the appropriate age group, the school aims to improve the experience for regular players as well as attracting new players to the game of rugby.  Having the new state-of-the-art facility, the school aim to strengthen the connection between professional clubs such as Harlequins and their local communities, with the growth of girl’s rugby being a key ambition.

Shaunagh Brown, England rugby international, said: “It was an absolute honour, opening Oriel High Schools brand new 3G pitches. It’s so impressive how much facilities Oriel have. It gives me faith that the future of sport is in good hands.”

Ryan Sallows, Business Manager Oriel High School, added: “The new 3G pitch is a huge asset to both the school and local community. It will make a huge difference to grassroots rugby and football in this area. We are very grateful to BAM and West Sussex County Council for supporting our ambitions with this fantastic new facility.” 

Dan Evans, Chairman of Crawley Rugby Club, commented: “This new 3G pitch is an example of the positive impact that partnerships with schools can have on our grassroots game. First-class facilities like this are crucial to creating more opportunities for local people to enjoy regular sport.” 

Michelle Reddings from BAM, stated: “Oriel High School deserves huge credit for taking a vision and turning it into a reality. Sport has the power to make a positive impact on the health of communities, and this wonderful new facility will improve the sporting experience of local people and encourage them to be more active. I would also like to thank Shaunagh for inspiring the students and taking the time to open the new facility.”