Author Topic: Scores  (Read 3716 times)

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Offline Red Horseman

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Re: Scores
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2017, 10:55:39 AM »
The problem arose when clubs' 1st teams were in leagues that involved a lot of travel (many still do), and the traditional "play them all through the club" started to crumble due to lower sides not being prepared to travel long distances.

Merit leagues came as a possible solution to try and keep travel as reduced as possible. Despite this, some clubs still think it's quite acceptable to blob regularly and predictably on away fixtures. The only solution would seem to be expel them from participating in leagues, leaving them to find fixtures for themselves throughout the season. Their reputation, however, will probably be their downfall. Good luck with that!

Offline Lampiao

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Re: Scores
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2017, 05:01:30 PM »

Fair point - I agree that clubs playing through all teams is great when it is workable.  Unfortunately first teams can reach the same level in a variety of ways:

Take the community club picking local amateurs - the structure of the club has created a strong 1st team and therefore the 2nd and 3rd teams are likely to be strong as well, everyone would like to think this is their club, but we all tend to look in the mirror through rose tinted spectacles.

Compare this to the club with a fully paid first team - often this means a squad of 25 paid players with little opportunity for others to get into the first team - these clubs often have a lack of opportunity for inexperienced players and replace player development with buying players in, they can at times struggle to even put out a second team.

The truth is that most clubs fall somewhere between these two stools, but moving up the leagues the difference between the two becomes more extreme (e.g. Sheffield Tigers could not put out a 2nd team this season).  Therefore the number of times that clubs with comparable first teams have well matched second teams becomes less and less.  Its great if Selby can go to York and have 4 good games, but it is not sustainable if the second team were in one sided games every week. 

In theory the merit tables should address this issue and despite their faults I think that the organisers have been sensible to split the league after Christmas to provide more competitive fixtures.  The calendar also provides a number of blank weeks to play other friendlies.  I don't think there is a perfect system and the days of players committing to Rugby for 35 weeks every winter are behind us, personally I am just pleased that as many players as possible are getting regular competitive games, but success in the merit table may serve as additional motivation to some.

I would also add that if Selby (and others) committed to the merit tables it could increase the level of competition and strengthen the competition, which is ultimately of benefit to the first team as players are gaining experience in a stronger standard of rugby.

Offline backrowbandit

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Re: Scores
« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2017, 07:13:50 PM »
A well thought out and reasoned argument in favour of merit leagues.

Sadly it seems that there is no easy answer. Every time a club manages to increase playing numbers another club seems to struggle.

I just find it frustrating that clubs like Ionians can throw so much money at their 1st team and completely neglect their lower teams. 24 players in our third team missed out on a match last Saturday. Perhaps Ionians should spend £30 K less on 1st XV players and employ a development officer...
Loving all rugby but especially at grassroots level. Lucky to be involved in England's number one ranked level 7 league...Yorkshire One.

Offline Novocastrian

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Re: Scores
« Reply #18 on: February 14, 2017, 08:13:11 PM »
I've nothing to do with the Yorkshire 'Merit' Leagues (obviously) but we have a very similar set up in N&D - and I'm increasingly against it.

I have to agree with Sailby on this one.

I still think the league system for junior clubs sees far too many mismatches and too many fixtures falling by the way side - The RFU estimates that at least 25% of lower league games are cancelled every season - so why do we continue with the same formula hoping that things are going to change? Wake up people, it isn't. It's probably only going to get worse  (as the stats below show)

We all, as clubs, need a sensible solution to this or we will continue to see clubs having a reduction in numbers. I for one find it terribly sad that clubs like Ionians (and many others up and down the land) would happily sacrifice lower sides to the benefit of the 1st XV - but that's rugby these days isn't it?

Don't blame them. Blame the system!


An ever so slight tangent so I apologise! But isn't this interesting...two clubs of similar stature - nearly 300 miles apart - epitomise the downward spiral of involvement in rugby over the last 30 years.

Morpeth RFC – matches arranged 1982-2013
            1982-83 1992-93 2002-03 2012-13
1st XV       39          36         29             30
2nd XV     41           33         26             20
3rd XV      32           24         28             21
4th XV      27           24         25              15
5th XV      23            18         -                 -
6th XV      25             1          -                 -
Total         187         136       108             86

Harrow RFC – matches arranged 1982-2013
               1982-83 1992-93 2002-03 2012-13
1st XV          40         35           28            28
2nd XV         34         32          30             28
3rd XV          33         31          25               -
4th XV          30         27          32               -
5th XV          27         25           -                 -
6th XV          17         15           -                 -
Total            181       165        115              56

If this is the current state of club rugby - no wonder we continue to have the same conversations year on year. Perhaps trying to change up the Merit Leagues could have a positive effect in the long run - I don't know! But it must be worth having the conversation to try and make a positive change don't you think?

Offline Sail By

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Re: Scores
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2017, 10:28:27 PM »

A very good reply which shows that there are no wrongs and rights, just personal opinions. Just one thing though Selby RUFC have 3 teams in the merit leagues with our 5th teamay just playing friendlies.

My comments above were my personal views and not of the club I belong to.