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Which club is better equipped for promotion.

This is a discussion for the topic Which club is better equipped for promotion. on the board Regional Two (North & North East).

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on: January 30, 2022, 06:05:08 PM
Let's assume it's a usual year with one or two being promoted.
In my opinion the top three will be (in alphabetical order) Driffield, Heath and Ilkley. So we'll stick to them for this thread.

What does it take to be successfully promoted to the next league up and how do each club fair?

1) Strength in depth. In practice this means large 1st and 2nd team squads and the 2nd team being close to the 1st team in quality. This makes a huge difference some...second teams are highly competitive and are, in practice, not much different to the first team. When you reach this position you have genuine strength in depth.

2) Geography. I firmly believe this makes a difference for two reasons. a) just simply for travel time. A club more centrally placed won't have ridiculously long travel times to contend with for most away games. b) availability of new players from other clubs. A club based around one of the main Yorkshire conurbations might be able to call on over 1000 players within a 25 to 30-minute travel time to the club. This travel time is probably what is deemed as being acceptable for attracting new players. When a club moves up to a new level it always acts as a magnet to some close-by players at other clubs but only if the clubs are close by!

3) Financial resources. Yes yes I know nobody is paid in UK rugby anywhere. But each leaue you go up the costs increase, travelling expenses, coaching costs,  other costs ..it's just a fact of life you only need to look at publicly available club accounts to see this.

4) Age profile of the players. Younger players particularly single ones without families are normally very happy to travel long distances. Older players with families and children are sometimes slightly more reluctant to give up 12 hour days with their children stuck at home. It's a real world problem to consider.... sudden retirements often hit promoted clubs.

I have my own views but thought I'd see if anyone wanted to start off assessing the three clubs above (or other clubs at the top) by the various criteria.
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Reply #1 on: January 30, 2022, 06:37:32 PM
Interesting post. I think another aspect to consider is if the Club has already played at a higher level and therefore knows what to expect - this would be the case for Driffield and Ilkley. I think - and please correct me if I’m wrong - that Heath have never been in a higher position in the Leagues since they began.

But in answer to you specific points from my personal - and I mean personal - point of view.

1. Strength in depth.

We do OK. The Second XV is very strong on the league it plays in, but suffers from match cancellations. This is endemic in the whole game and a major worry, as it tends to mean even greater concentration on the first XV squad. The only time we had to bring on a lot of second team players in this season was when we played Pock at home. And lost. I should also note that Pock played very well.

2. Geography.

We’re in a valley and in this league, all travel in from the east. The traffic can be brutal, as I’m sure our visitors can attest to.That works the other way too. Our nearest rivals are the Bees, which takes half an hour, Cleck the other week took 40 minutes there, but over an hour back.

When we were in North Premier, Rossendale and Blackburn were easier to get to than a lot of the East Riding clubs.

3. Financial resources,

Happily, the Club has a healthy balance sheet, largely because of its development fund. On the other hand, Ilkley is rich in alternative entertainment venues, so the Clubhouse is little used for anything other than rugby.

Match days are usually very successful in terms of gate money, lunches and raffles.

4. We have a young side, as do most of the teams in the league. BRB’s comments are 100% accurate ( I don’t say that very often ) The Northern Premier League had some seriously long-distance travelling. I think Wirral to Alnwick was the longest. 

For the other two Clubs mentioned, I would think everywhere is a long way from Driffield ! But Heath are close to the M62. For what that’s worth !


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Reply #2 on: January 30, 2022, 08:51:57 PM
230 miles and just shy of 4 hours.
So 8 hours on the road and 4 hours+ at the ground.
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Reply #3 on: January 30, 2022, 09:35:29 PM
Coming from where we are the travel is always an issue, our season in N Premier was arguably easier than this season, which is brutal,  with monster 3 hour trips every other week (the only 2 'local' games are Durham and Consett which are still a good shank)

Any of the 3 teams mentioned could make the step up, the difference is not that great. We felt we were just coming to terms with things when Covid struck and we all know what happened next.

You need either a massive, interchangeable squad, or the ability to 'aquire' new players when needed. The standard of rugby isn't that much higher, but all the games are attritional and unless you're very lucky, injuries will happen. If you can't replace these injuries with similar quality,  you WILL be punished. Teams in the NP are much more efficient too, particularly away from home, many don't seem to play much rugby but make far fewer errors than we see in N1E and grind out results.

It's a step up, but not  a massive one. All 3 teams mentioned 'could' have a good go if promoted, but as Pock found out a few years back, if you go up and then actually lose players, it's impossible. Being big and strong and able to 'bully' teams in N1E doesn't work either,  as there's bigger, better, more experienced bullies 1 up,  so careful thought needs to go into what happens...do you stick with the lads who've got you up, or do you pi55 them all off by recruiting 'better' players? This can obviously backfire in spectacular fashion in the long run as there's no guarantee it works anyway.

Money does seem to talk quite a lot too as some teams are rich and flying one season, only for a mass exodus to occur if the £ dries up or more is offered elsewhere. 2 or 3 cases spring to mind immediately.

For us it was definitely worthwhile as we cracked on with the same team, having the experience of playing a division up,  and with no £ involved our end there's no real issue no matter what happens. We played some good stuff and were able to compete with most teams. However, if we'd stayed up and had the crippling injury list we had at the start of this season we'd have been getting pumped heavily every week. 'If' you invest to go up, and are desperate to stay up..... be in for the long haul!

Driff and Ilkley know what to expect, Heath are an ambitious outfit and fair play if they get there. All could do well, all could come straight back down...it's that fine a line.


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Reply #4 on: January 30, 2022, 10:39:18 PM
Well I have to say I don't always agree with BRB but on this issue I concur with all of his points and all his reasons for making them. Sorry I can't be controversial on this one. An excellent assessment. I can only say I think Ilkley are the only team who come anywhere near his criteria.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2022, 10:50:31 PM by omigidiant »
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