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audois

Rugby League Conference

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Its changed a lot.

The England Lions used to be their team but now NCL.

First teams to play HJT final South Norfolk-Crawley now gone but some of originals still there; Chester, Gloucester, Oxford, Leicester after 17 years. Yes disappointing to lose likes of South London and West London but new Eastern Merit comp springs up from nowhere.

Is there a changing pattern?

Is there a role for regions to have greater role and impact.

What impact will that Sports England grant cut have.

Will the NCL & this Forum merge.

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Chester have long gone. This is a new club that are genuinely local. The original Chester Wolves were Widnes based players largely.

Things are mostly changing for the better but I share your concerns over Sport England cuts.

The regions will have more control and some (North East especially) will develop better than others.

If Conference South survives in the long run (I have concerns for it) the gap between it and an ever more localised tier 4 will only grow wider.

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From my limited knowlege,the north east seems solid,strong and growing.Really should be scope in that north Yorks/Durham area.

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Actually back to that first post South Norfolk are still going as Bury Titans

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Actually back to that first post South Norfolk are still going as Bury Titans

I did a coaching course with John Evans a St Helens lad who ran South Norfolk, didn't realise Bury Titans came from there. Cheltenham Warriors played Chester Wolves in early days when they had the likes of the late Paul Darbyshire in their ranks. The Warriors had some longish trips back then including Crewe and Leicester.

It was a small world then. I think they had a dozen clubs in three pools. Aren't Eastern Rhinos also an original club formed as Ipswich. Although they've lost loads of clubs isn't it still a huge success story? You peeble dash the expansion wall and see what sticks.

Lots of lessons learn't. Now maturing in difficult cost cutting times. Isn't 2013 about guarding the success stories. Keeping the better parts. Being stronger even if in fewer places. Consolidate now and & ready to move on when the sun shines again.

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There should be consolidation but that doesn't seem to be the plan. When they were chasing Sport England funding they encouraged merit league sides to spring up next to established clubs only to play 3 games a season and disrupt the existing club. Also because U18 was a target age group they set up unviable leagues where hardly any games happen taking away from the ability of A teams to fulfil their fixtures in the process. Getting a full size Conference South up and running should be a priority regardless of the effect on tier 4 IMO.

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Also, isn't the current Leicester club a different one to the original Leicester RLC side? The first club more or less folded and was saved by Ty Watson and a few others… I think.

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Also, isn't the current Leicester club a different one to the original Leicester RLC side? The first club more or less folded and was saved by Ty Watson and a few others… I think.

Same club renamed. They date back to 1986.

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I think that RL outside the heartlands is at something of a crossroads and the future could be exciting, or it could be bleak.

Every region has developed differently, with differing levels of success and strength. It's clear that a "one size fits all" policy is not going to work so whoever takes over control centrally of the tier 4 competitions outside the heartlands will need to understand, and work closely with, the local people who are really the only ones who can make things happen. The regions that will thrive will be the ones with committed local administrators and a structure that would survive the loss of key individuals. I guess it's the same with clubs.

In the Midlands, there are some strong success stories - clubs that have existed in some form for a long time are still around and have strengthened. Junior development was very, very sparse until 2007 and now we have generated Super League players, England and GB rep players, other professional and academy players and our own Academy and Scholarship. Next year there will be a semi-pro club in the region, and the stronger regional sides will hopefully step up to tier 3. I had hoped that there would be more clubs spring up to fill the geographical gaps but that hasn't happened and having run a club for 5 years you understand that a strong club (as opposed to a one or two season wonder based on RU players at a specific RU club) needs massive commitment and effort. I now think that building local satellites around the existing strong clubs is probably the way forward.

It is worth saying again that Open Age success can only be sustained through a strong junior system - it doesn't guarantee it, but it's nearly impossible without it. Seeing the East region begin this process is good news.

In the end, whether or not there is adult tier 4 activity in any region is far less important than having juniors, with a pathway to the pro game.

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"I now think that building local satellites around the existing strong clubs is probably the way forward."

Bowes said recently that he thought CC1 Oxford had the potential to start up a local feeder league. Similarly down the road in Gloucester something like this is now envisaged around the UGAG. Going the other way Hemel being neighbours of Skolars also offers possibilities especially with St Albans nearby. Isn't this how the heartlands developed all those years ago.

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"I now think that building local satellites around the existing strong clubs is probably the way forward."

Bowes said recently that he thought CC1 Oxford had the potential to start up a local feeder league. Similarly down the road in Gloucester something like this is now envisaged around the UGAG. Going the other way Hemel being neighbours of Skolars also offers possabilities especially with St Albans nearby. Isn't this how the heartlands developed all those years ago.

All Golds will have their own feeder division already this year. But think this seems to be the way as 1 or 2 new Gloucestershire clubs and one new Oxford club have started for this year. There's supposed to be 4 Coventry clubs will two of them running reserves this year though I'll believe it when I see it. I expect amateur developments to pop up in Hemel as well now the emphasis is on the pro side.

As for Tim's point then from what I can see there are 3 types of amateur clubs outside the heartland:

1. All round strong clubs in the Conference South or on the edge of stepping up to it (although Coventry and Peterlee in the NCL fit here).

2. RU player based clubs with just open age that may be strong on the field.

3. Clubs with a good junior set up but a week albeit young open age.

The clubs in 1 and 3 are important but 2 seems less so (other than to provide numbers to run the leagues).

There are 2 ways to go forward IMO:

1. Link reserve teams of clubs in category 1 with clubs in category 2 and the open age side of category 3 in localised short season competitions.

2. Link young reserve/academy sides of club in category 1 with the young clubs in category 3 in competitions that intend to become a full season (if you say made them U20 with 5 open age players) and forget clubs in category 2. This would help category 3 clubs mature to become category 1 clubs.

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"I now think that building local satellites around the existing strong clubs is probably the way forward."

Bowes said recently that he thought CC1 Oxford had the potential to start up a local feeder league. Similarly down the road in Gloucester something like this is now envisaged around the UGAG. Going the other way Hemel being neighbours of Skolars also offers possibilities especially with St Albans nearby. Isn't this how the heartlands developed all those years ago.

Actually no, it isn't.

The heartlands pre-1895 didn't really have feeder clubs or leagues since there was no amateur vs pro distinction and leagues were thin on the ground.

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Actually no, it isn't.

The heartlands pre-1895 didn't really have feeder clubs or leagues since there was no amateur vs pro distinction and leagues were thin on the ground.

Depends on the definition of "all those years ago" doesnt it? Im not sure he meant 118 years ago....

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Depends on the definition of "all those years ago" doesnt it? Im not sure he meant 118 years ago....

He might not have but I'd like to know when else the heartland became heartland.

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Originally there were just the pro clubs but 2 developments happened early. There were semi pro lower divisions that eventually folded and amateur district leagues set up based in one town each. The absence of anything between pro and district league is why pro clubs always ran reserves and lots of academy sides.

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From what I can tell didn't a. Few of the successful Amateur clubs like Leigh East, Cov, Bristol, Hemel, only start up in the 1960s, '70s and '80s?

Although there aren't many clubs in the 'West of England' Division its getting better in quality year-on-year. As much as people seem to like attacking the 'Regional' clubs in the South East/Hampshire, I'd say they teams very strong for this level on the field, and Medway are a fantastic success story.

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Coventry were founded in 1998 and didn't join the RLC til 2000. Bristol joined in 2003 but there had been another club there in the second half of the 80s and I think turn of the 90s. Hemel date to early 80s think it was 83?

Coventry played Northern Union 1910 to 1913 but there was a local league up til the 1930s.

Most clubs in the heartlands especially in Lancashire only originated in the 70s or later as there were hardly any amateur clubs at that time. The NWCL was founded in 1975 with just 3 divisions (it was a merger of the Warrington and Manchester leagues)

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Coventry were founded in 1998 and didn't join the RLC til 2000. Bristol joined in 2003 but there had been another club there in the second half of the 80s and I think turn of the 90s. Hemel date to early 80s think it was 83?

Coventry played Northern Union 1910 to 1913 but there was a local league up til the 1930s.

Most clubs in the heartlands especially in Lancashire only originated in the 70s or later as there were hardly any amateur clubs at that time. The NWCL was founded in 1975 with just 3 divisions (it was a merger of the Warrington and Manchester leagues)

Just as a counterpoint, I think Millom date back to the 1870's or thereabouts.

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Coventry were founded in 1998 and didn't join the RLC til 2000. Bristol joined in 2003 but there had been another club there in the second half of the 80s and I think turn of the 90s. Hemel date to early 80s think it was 83?

Coventry played Northern Union 1910 to 1913 but there was a local league up til the 1930s.

Most clubs in the heartlands especially in Lancashire only originated in the 70s or later as there were hardly any amateur clubs at that time. The NWCL was founded in 1975 with just 3 divisions (it was a merger of the Warrington and Manchester leagues)

What you had before BARLA was works league and in the 60's the RFL Made an attempt to control the amateur game with pro clubs running supporters teams.

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Cov played in the Northern Union in 1929 if memory aerves correct!

I see the Alzheimer's is back Dave, no one played Northern Union after 1922, from then on it was Rugby League.

I think Cov folded during WW1 or just after.

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