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Online avinastella

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RFU North Review
« on: October 09, 2018, 06:17:55 PM »
Some of you may be aware of the following, but for those who aren't then please see below.
Now is the time to raise your concerns, objections and contributions. The fallout over the t'other side of the hill may well impact on Yorkshire. There is also the concerns within the DN leagues regarding travel, some seem to find the edge of town too much trouble.

Anyway, here's the letter i've been asked to post up. Please add your comments:

As you will be aware the English Clubs Championship (ECC) in the North West is operating, this season, on an interim basis.  This follows the withdrawal of some clubs in Lancashire from the ECC and an appeal by some clubs in Cumbria against the revised structures that were due to be implemented. Part of the appeal judgement required the RFU Competitions Department to conduct a review of Adult Male Rugby in the North prior to issuing a league structure for the 2019-20 season.

As Chairman of the Competitions Development Sub-Committee I chaired the meeting that was held in Lancaster in July and which resulted in the current, interim league structure. Subsequently I was asked to form a Working Group to carry out the review required by the appeal judgement. The first part of the review process requires that we hold a series of consultation evenings with groups across the North, the timetable for which is appended to this letter. I would like to invite your club to participate in this consultation and would ask that you nominate a maximum of two people from your club who you feel  can represent the views of the club, including the playing members, at one of these meetings.
 
? 16th October – Morpeth RFC
? 17th October – West Park Leeds RFC
? 23rd October – Preston Grasshoppers RFC
? 25th October – Winnington Park RFC
? 30th October – Kendal RFC
? 6th November – Durham City RFC
? 4th December – Morpeth RFC
? 5th December – Durham City RFC
? 6th December – West Park Leeds RFC
? 11th December - Preston Grasshoppers RFC
? 13th December – Winnington Park RFC

At the meetings we would welcome any views on a possible structure and playing calendar. We are particularly interested in :

? Whether you believe leagues etc. should be restricted to CB Boundaries or should go beyond them
? Optimal league sizes 
? The variety of fixtures you think would make a successful season (e.g. league, cup, friendly)
? The constraints of travel time against suitably competitive fixtures ? How regulated you would wish leagues etc. to be
? What a successful playing calendar looks like to your club.

We hope that the representatives who attend the meeting will have some time to consult within their clubs before attending the meeting and would be grateful if you could email Paul O’Leary with the names of those attendees and which meeting they wish to attend.

Can I thank you for your time in considering these points.  We wish the meetings to be open and frank and will welcome all ideas and views that you put forward.  I look forward to meeting you. 
                                                                                                                                                                                           
« Last Edit: October 09, 2018, 06:35:07 PM by avinastella »
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Online avinastella

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Re: RFU North Review
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2018, 10:32:18 AM »
Well, to get this started.
My take on this is;

It's an attempt to resurrect the 12 team league structure that was voted out previously.

An attempt to establish the RFU National Cup comps that haven't yet achieved universal approval.

A forlorn attempt to retain County cup competitions long after many teams have lost interest in them.

A desperate attempt to resolve the Lancashire problem by implementing cross border (County) league structures. In simple form, post code. On that basis, West Yorkshire and North Yorks/Teeside clubs should be particularly interested in where they may end up.

It looks like the RFU have only given a one season window for the Lancs problem and that a solution will be implemented for next season.

For those with an interest in the finances of clubs, the above could have a serious impact on income.

I really don't understand how the refusal of the Cheshire/Lancs clubs travelling to the wastelands of Cumbria should become our problem. With regards to travel in the Yorks leagues it seems only the Teeside/Nth Yorks (Boro excepted) who moan. Adding extra, longer (ish) journey's to placate others who moan would be unfair.

Regarding Cup comps, many clubs have shown how they feel about them, 11 Walkovers this weekend, and this for competitions they accepted an invite for.

It would seem sitting back is not an option if we want to avoid having further changes imposed on us in an attempt to placate the West of the Pennines.
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Offline Sycamore

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Re: RFU North Review
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2018, 08:20:02 PM »
It’s an interesting one I think the attitudes of the Lancs/Cheshire of refusing to travel is a growing problem in the game in that more and more players seem to have an issue with away games. Look at the East coast you’ve got sides that won’t travel more than 10 miles inland and teams with ridiculous cancellation records.Hull Ionians stick out.

Rugby seems to me in a spot of bother that no one seems to want to acknowledge.

Offline Gilly

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Re: RFU North Review
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2018, 10:37:01 PM »
Having played in the old North Lancs / Cumbria league as a youngster I can see why teams would rather not travel so far from around Manchester to places like Whitehaven, Workington and Barrow. It’s a long way! 3 hours each way on a coach. I loved it but it was a 12 hour commitment 5 or 6 times a season. 

It is very much like the Durham teams being added into the Yorkshire structure. As seen from cups / level transfers it causes issues. Cumbria is a separate county after all.

As a kid at Rochdale half our games were against the Halifax or Huddersfield based sides all within 30 minutes drive. Then you hit senior rugby and never play any of those sides again.

I don’t know how this can be resolved but the fact that a large number of Lancashire clubs have decided to set up on their own shows how serious the issue had become.

Offline Ribb Exile in Lancs

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Re: RFU North Review
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2018, 01:53:23 AM »
I agree we must resist cross border level transfers to NW leagues.
Living as I do in East Lancashire (unfortunately) I have been aware for a number
of years from my contacts at Burnley and Colne & Nelson of NW clubs reluctance to travel to Cumbria.
However I can understand the RFU wanting to retain the seamless league system & think the 20
Lancashire/Cheshire clubs have been selfish in breaking away.
In our geographical position I think Ribb are vulnerable.
You may be aware Ribb were level transferred to a NW league a number of years ago.
This caused major problems, no games against Yorkshire clubs with whom we  had long standing
connections. No real affinity with clubs like Blackburn & Rochdale although we were always made welcome.
The effect was attendances down, bar takings down & player interest declined so we became unable to raise
a 3rd XV and have rarely done so since.
I must stress this is my opinion & by no means the official North Ribblesdale position.
At the moment there are too many league games leaving little margin for playing cup games & rearranging
games called off because of bad weather.
In my playing days you could expect players to be willing to turn out on a weekly basis, now there are many
distractions, lifestyle has changed, we must embrace that.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2018, 06:10:12 PM by Ribb Exile in Lancs »

Offline ye olde 9

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Re: RFU North Review
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2018, 11:01:12 AM »
Wouldn't district leagues like football and cricket work but may be on a slightly larger scale, is not the county unions not trying to hold on to their power.

For example area around me.
Calderdale district leagues 1/ 2
Bradford and Craven 1 / 2
Leeds City 1 / 2

Promotion to Yorkshire East
Or
Yorkshire West

Promotion to Yorkshire 1 then NE etc.

Northwest would be

Manchester City 1/2

Merseyside 1/2

Upper lakes

Lower lakes etc.

Online avinastella

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Re: RFU North Review
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2018, 11:17:06 AM »

Wouldn't district leagues like football and cricket work but may be on a slightly larger scale, is not the county unions not trying to hold on to their power.

For example area around me.
Calderdale district leagues 1/ 2
Bradford and Craven 1 / 2
Leeds City 1 / 2

Promotion to Yorkshire East
Or
Yorkshire West

Promotion to Yorkshire 1 then NE etc.

Northwest would be

Manchester City 1/2

Merseyside 1/2

Upper lakes

Lower lakes etc.
Doesn't really work in practice. Just like when they arrange county leagues by geographic location. First promotion/relegation usually buggers it up.

Link to google maps of clubs to show what i mean.
The Lancs and Teeside/Duham clubs are not sorted by level, just their location.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?hl=en&mid=1tkEQbaJiNAQGG07gFZ-Yy7yqwlU&ll=53.80988832441279%2C-1.684879799999976&z=8

The cup competitions have turned into a lost cause. 11 walkovers last week. Says it all.
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Offline Thread Killer

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Re: RFU North Review
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2018, 12:34:21 PM »
All views my own etc.

Not expecting this to be universally popular, and it’s admittedly coming from the perspectives of player retention/recruitment and the lower half/two-thirds of the Leagues, but the structure of the season needs to change drastically if the slide in playing numbers is to be halted. Some imagination is required, alongside a recognition that maintaining the status quo of 14-team Leagues equates to taking the same option when something is clearly not working, a definition of insanity.

The days of most players playing every week between the start of September and early May have gone. The majority of people on this Forum and involved in running their clubs and the Game as a whole (another facet of the problem), played when this wasn’t the case and resent/can’t understand why this has changed. I’m afraid it’s time to embrace the horror. 18-30 year olds now have infinitely more distractions and demands on their weekends (including getting married & having Stag Dos during the season!) from partners, family and work.

It’s time for some radical, evolved thinking as to what Saturday Rugby needs to mean to appeal to existing players & watchers and attract new ones. The solution lies in drastically fewer league games below National League level. An unremitting diet of 26, 80-minute league games a year, with minimal season to season variation in opposition, out of the 30 weeks available is just too one-dimensional and out of date and leaves ZERO room for anything else once weather has forced rearranged fixtures.

At “Social Rugby” level, and the crucial point is where in the League structure you draw that line, 18 league games a year to give the season it’s basic structure is enough. The key to engagement lies in being creative with the balance of the year. A mixture of tours, mini-tours, friendlies, 3-way fixtures, long-lost local derbies, half-pitch tag tournaments, 10s festivals, open days to engage local communities, early kick-offs on International weekends, mixed touch tournaments, family days, yes maybe County Cups and even… whisper it, the odd week off; whatever floats your boat and gives players, wives, girlfriends, kids and families enough variety to make “Saturday afternoon down the Rugby Club” a more interesting, attractive and inclusive offer.

As I understand it, last time round, the argument against the reduction from 14-12 team leagues (Which was the RFU’s preferred choice and recommendation nationally, having spent a 6 or maybe 7 figure sum on a consultation, it was only a Yorkshire/Northern Cadre that dug their heels in and stamped their feet until the RFU capitulated) was the assertion that “we can’t afford to lose the revenue from those 2 home games.” Not my place to tell others how to run their clubs but I’d suggest that if that 2-game marginal revenue is that important, and particularly if that revenue is in envelopes going round a changing room below National League level, then you’re borderline unsustainable already.

It’s obviously not wrong, indeed it’s essential, that many clubs are upwardly mobile, and if, to this end, they want to pay players and have 26-30 League Games a Year to fund that then that’s absolutely fine. Aspirational clubs would still be able to force their way out of “Social” rugby and up the structure over a period of time if they wanted to, and could afford it. I’m speaking from the perspective of those clubs who don’t see themselves as the next Exeter, Doncaster, or even West Leeds, but want to perpetuate the playing of Rugby as a mostly social, recreational, enjoyable, amateur endeavour and provide the same to as many as possible who share that aspiration. There’s more of us than you’d think!

The crux is, where is the line below which smaller leagues might be appropriate? My feel is that its Y1 and down. Others will no doubt feel differently.

I’m also not naïve enough to think much of the above is going to be adopted quickly, if at all; but a reduction in League size in 2019-20 from 14 to 12 in Y1, and 10-team Leagues at Y2 and below would be a start.

Offline ye olde 9

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Re: RFU North Review
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2018, 01:09:07 PM »
Makes a lot of sense, but parhaps that's where it comes unstuck. Look at the smaller leagues in Y4. The schedulers have already given them a week off, yet back to back in bleak mid winter!!! 10 teams so 18 games, season starts 3rd Sat Aug finishes last Sat in March that's 29 Saturday's. 2 off for Xmas, still leaves 9 free Saturday for bad weather or friendlies. I believe scheduling works best so league games in blocks of 3 then a free. County cup starts 1st week in April, rounds every weekend, finals 2nd week in May. 12 league teams in the higher leagues so better squad numbers, still have 5 free weeks so a spare in Sept, Oct, Nov, already 2 weeks off in December and a week off in Jan and Feb.

So free weekends
Blocks of 3 for momentum
A cup month, teams  giving W/O get to finish end of March to regroup.
Teams worried about losing two home games, standard club what's that equate to 200-300 gate, £1000, bar 2000, NET profit 600, so at best 1600. Minus the offset of away games coach 480-500. So cost to club 2k. Cup month good draws, good crowds due to good weather, gate 1000, bar profit 600. So status quo whilst having a better structure.

Online backrowbandit

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Re: RFU North Review
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2018, 06:39:03 PM »
I've always been a supporter of the cups...however I have now come to the conclusion of why try and harm the successful leagues (in the present day) to try and resurrect cups (which were successful in the past).

It seems that market forces have made the decision.

Clubs want to play in leagues more than cups....it seems blindingly obvious.
Loving all rugby but especially at grassroots level. Lucky to be involved in England's number one ranked level 7 league...Yorkshire One.

Online avinastella

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Re: RFU North Review
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2018, 07:15:49 PM »
I've always been a supporter of the cups...however I have now come to the conclusion of why try and harm the successful leagues (in the present day) to try and resurrect cups (which were successful in the past).

It seems that market forces have made the decision.

Clubs want to play in leagues more than cups....it seems blindingly obvious.

I agree. The cup argument is false. Clubs have constantly shown their lack of appetite for cup games.
Straight from the YRFU website:

Season:     Walkovers:
18-19        11 (so far)
17-18        12
16-17        9
15-16        15
14-15        13
13-14        10
12-13        15
11-12        5

Whilst these walkovers are spread across all league levels, including Nationals, a good number are from the lower leagues who already have a number of spare weeks, so the argument of them filling spare weeks with cup games is somewhat false.
Lets not forget, one club even gave a walkover in the Cup final.
Remember, cup games are by invite. Clubs agree to play, then cry off at last minute. Some are serial offenders. Some get a bye in the first round then give a walkover in the next.
How can clubs plan and survive with that?
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Offline Ribbflagman

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Re: RFU North Review
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2018, 10:53:50 PM »
To me its quite simple, if teams enter a competition they should play. Home or away. I know we at Ribb blobbed on a shield game away at Selby three years ago but that was down to genuine a horrific injury list and a decision to try and survive in the league (which we actually did). As posters on here will know we are not travel adverse as we average about 100 miles round trip per away fixture even in Y2. The last six years in Y1 it was almost 150 each away game.
I think that the walkover is a simple cop out for many clubs and should be punished more severely. The current prize of a possible game at HQ should be a more than enough of an incentive to players who actually want to play the game.
 Someone please tell me of any amateur fotball player who would not want to play for their local team at Wembley. It was a great day out for our lads at Twickers in 2004 and is still talked about by the local community. Exactly what I feel the comps were designed to do. So come on all you wannabes play the cup fixtures and do your best for your club.
 Remember its how people/teams cope with the adversity of losing that maketh men not taking the easy option of a home cup game/win.
Only my opinion and i am an old fart as many know.

Offline old style prop

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Re: RFU North Review
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2018, 12:14:58 AM »
In terms of the review from my perspective
number 1 aim is competitive games, either watching or playing id prefer to travel a few more miles for a season with lots of closely contested games then save a bit of petrol and time for a season with lots of one sided no benefit to anyone affairs (and i think the Yorkshire leagues, as they are, deliver that).
number 2 for me is linked to above in that i would hate to see us relax the rules around the teams a player can be registered to play for in order to increase teams in the leagues by letting higher league 2nd teams enter the league ladder and then walk through the lower leagues handing out thrashings most weeks before finding their level (worry about increased poaching of players from other local clubs and tactically switching players from 1s to 2s dependent on respective position in leagues are a concern this would cause).
number 3 personally i prefer 12 team leagues to free up a few more none league weekends, to give some lads a week off when carrying  a niggle and also prevent the regular weather inflicted fixture backlog we often get, but i know i am in the minority on here in that.

Offline Ribb Exile in Lancs

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Re: RFU North Review
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2018, 12:58:45 AM »
To me its quite simple, if teams enter a competition they should play. Home or away. I know we at Ribb blobbed on a shield game away at Selby three years ago but that was down to genuine a horrific injury list and a decision to try and survive in the league (which we actually did). As posters on here will know we are not travel adverse as we average about 100 miles round trip per away fixture even in Y2. The last six years in Y1 it was almost 150 each away game.
I think that the walkover is a simple cop out for many clubs and should be punished more severely. The current prize of a possible game at HQ should be a more than enough of an incentive to players who actually want to play the game.
 Someone please tell me of any amateur fotball player who would not want to play for their local team at Wembley. It was a great day out for our lads at Twickers in 2004 and is still talked about by the local community. Exactly what I feel the comps were designed to do. So come on all you wannabes play the cup fixtures and do your best for your club.
 Remember its how people/teams cope with the adversity of losing that maketh men not taking the easy option of a home cup game/win.
Only my opinion and i am an old fart as many know.

I agree entirely, especially with the last sentence.

Offline Shirt filler

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Re: RFU North Review
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2018, 02:04:28 AM »
Im a fan of cup competitions and would hate to see them go but I think its nearing the end of life for them. 

Ribbflag, the game you blobbed on Selby pretty much sums up a lot of walk-overs. Teams would rather put all their efforts into surviving/doing well in their league than have a cup run.

If sponsorship could be found for cup comps to give a financial incentive then teams may well feel like its worth giving it a go, just offering a day out at twickers clearly isnt enough of an incentive for many.

As for the league structure in yorkshire, I think the only real problem area is at the bottom end of the structure where yorkshire 4 still gets quite a few walk-over results and that is normally down to small playing squads.