Roy Haggerty

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  1. Roy Haggerty

    London and South East RL

    Sounds the usual mix of ups and downs. I couldn't ref last year, partly because initially I didn't seem to be able to get my contact details to whoever organised the referees outside of London, but mostly because from April to June I was otherwise occupied in the local and general elections. By the time that and the aftermath died down, the season was over and I managed just one late-season touch judging appointment at an army v navy women's game in Portsmouth. I've registered for next year, and I can do Southampton and Portsmouth home games easily enough. Anything further afield is probably a no-no though. Mind you, I've put a bit of timber on with my first season not running round a rugby field for 32 years, so the ten metres will be even shorter this year!
  2. I last refereed in 2016, and spent last year moving house (to the Isle of Wight), and concentrating on a few other things, so didn't follow what was happening in the southern amateur comps. Things were already looking a bit shaky in 2016, once you got past Chargers, Hammersmith and Wests. I've been searching around on the internet and can't find anything from 2017 on league tables, results or competition structures, and nothing about 2018 either. Even the wiki pages seem to have stopped being updated years ago. Is there a competition this year? If so, is there a website anywhere which actually has up to date information on which clubs are left? I'd be a bit gutted if it's all gone to the wall.
  3. Roy Haggerty

    London Skolars - what's going on ?

    Bears have folded. Rhinos narrowly beat Chargers today - I think their first home defeat in 3 years ? Never more than 4 points in it from beginning to end, played in boiling temperatures. Both sides struggled to break through some bruising defence, with Rhinos scoring the winning try just 8 minutes from the end. Consolation for the Chargers was that their second team beat Medway in another close, well-matched game in which the lead changed hands five or six times. It's a shame that the League has been such a porridge this year, as clubs like Eastern Rhinos, Medway and Chargers deserve to be playing guaranteed fixtures every week. I don't know if Skolars v Hammersmith went ahead - I hope it did.
  4. Roy Haggerty

    London Skolars - what's going on ?

    Not sure I buy this. A cheap shot or indeed just hard-but-fair tackling can hurt an experienced player just as easily as a complete novice. What you describe sounds like a reason not to play the game at all, rather than a reason not to play inexperienced players. The only place I'd agree with you in terms of a mismatch being a safety issue would be if an amateur side was somehow due to play a pro-side, which won't happen, or if a kids' team was asked to play above its age group, which also wouldn't happen. Injuries/fouls etc can happen in any game - this weekend at Medway, one of the Skolars players who did turn up unfortunately managed to hyper-extend his knee in a completely innocuous tackle, and he was a semi-pro who'd played first team for Skolars. The lad tackling him looked about 18 and half the size. The nature of RL is that such things are always possible. Also, in terms of cynicism and poor sportsmanship, I just don't recognise the level you describe from London RL. There'll always be one or two players who can lose their rag and do something daft, players get the handbags out when they get frustrated, and sledging's as old as time itself. Occasionally such incidents will be missed (or interpreted differently by the two sides and the official), but I experience very little of that in the games I've been involved in this season. I do think that if any club can field even 12 players, even if some of them are relatively inexperienced, then they should keep the match on. In my experience, when a host side realises that the other team are on a hiding to nothing, the aggression levels usually drop a lot, and the game is played in a very friendly manner, simply because the host side realise that the lads who've turned up have at least made the effort to be there, despite the obvious mismatch. Anyway, hopefully the nines will give teams a chance for a mid-season breather next week, and we can get all the games on the following week.
  5. Roy Haggerty

    London Skolars - what's going on ?

    Skolars seconds haven't played on the main pitch as long as I can remember. They've been playing on the pitch over the road so long that I actually played on it against them ! There's an issue at the moment about a lack of facilities as a result of the sports centre/stadium being redeveloped. However, this would excuse poor attendance at home games, not away ones - you'd think they'd be glad to go away to get a decent shower afterwards....
  6. Roy Haggerty

    London Skolars - what's going on ?

    No-shows are indeed a killer. 24-0, by the way, is far too lenient for a no-show, given that plenty of actual played games have bigger scores than that. In fact, that gives a disincentive to clubs to travel, because they know if they cry off, they lose 24-0, whereas if they travel with a much-weakened side, they risk a 50-point difference. Personally, I'd like to see a no-show as a league table points deduction, and if that means some frequent offenders end the season in negative figures, then so be it. Or move to a system where it's 3 points for a win, 2 for a draw and 1 point for a loss in which the team actually showed up. I know travelling is always an issue in the London League (there are very few games without a journey of at least 90-120 minutes in each direction), but players need to make that commitment, as nothing kills off clubs faster than not getting regular games. I'm very surprised at the Bears crying off, as each time I've seen them this season they've seemed to have plenty of players, and it was a very close match against Eastern Rhinos at their place.
  7. Pretty much at the season's halfway point in the London Premier League, and the biggest single issue is the unreliability of Skolars. SW London are again the team to beat, Wests can put out a very strong side, although they're patchy, Hammersmith are good at home but vulnerable away, Easts, Medway and Beckenham are reliable, solid outfits who perhaps don't have the flair to compete with the three above, but certainly aren't disgraced in the top flight. Then there's Skolars. On the face of it, the side which is attached to one of London's two professional clubs should have all the makings of a strong contender. Apart from their ability to use players with semi-pro experience, they are now the oldest continual team in London by some distance, having been established more than twenty years ago. They should have (must have) a database of past and current players running into hundreds. Yet this year has been a shambles for the Skolars. They've conceded more fixtures than they've played, and their travel record is so bad that it's approaching a Bye to have a home fixture against Skolars. This is a real shame, as they have the quality of player, in theory, to offer a serious challenge to the top end of the league. Their one win was a very solid display against a decent Wests side (at home, naturally), and even today, when only 9 Skolars showed up at Medway, those players were of sufficient quality that if they'd fielded a full team, then Medway would have been sorely pressed. As it was, Medway very kindly loaned Skolars some players so that a 13-a-side game could go ahead, and the inevitable result was a fairly one-sided scoreline. It was a bad year for London Rugby League when both the Skolars oldest rivals, South London and West London, folded. On the basis of this season, there has to be a risk that North London's representatives are about to follow.
  8. Roy Haggerty


    The question is : is our decline an isolated case for our sport, or are all sports suffering. I do think there are a lot of factors in the modern economy which mitigate against team sports in particular, including: the widespread return of 6-day working weeks, greater mobility/transience of playing-age workers, and a move from predictable salaried weekly employment to unpredictable hours-based employment. Rugby League in particular is vulnerable to demographic changes which impact on working class young men, and this is the group most likely to be impacted by the above changes.