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Pottsy

Sheffield - what happened?

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I'm just wondering why Sheffield's grassroots scene hasn't kicked off as you might expect.

The city hosts a successful and established pro club, which still apparently harbours super league ambitions, yet, aside from the universities, has only really had one stable grassroots club (Hillsborough) within the city limits.

Sheffield Forgers came and went again and there are/have been various clubs in surrounding areas such as North Derbyshire (eg, Hope Valley, North Derbyshire, Dronfield Drifters - are they still going?) but still Sheffield only has one grassroots club.

Why is this? And what prospect is there

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I'm just wondering why Sheffield's grassroots scene hasn't kicked off as you might expect.

The city hosts a successful and established pro club, which still apparently harbours super league ambitions, yet, aside from the universities, has only really had one stable grassroots club (Hillsborough) within the city limits.

Sheffield Forgers came and went again and there are/have been various clubs in surrounding areas such as North Derbyshire (eg, Hope Valley, North Derbyshire, Dronfield Drifters - are they still going?) but still Sheffield only has one grassroots club.

Why is this? And what prospect is there

Good question and I've long been asking this myself, for a city with a population of over 500,000 1 amateur side is not good enough. Surely with all the money the RFL got from sport England and the Sheffield eagles working in conjunction with BARLA more grassroots clubs could have been setup?

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Good question and I've long been asking this myself, for a city with a population of over 500,000 1 amateur side is not good enough. Surely with all the money the RFL got from sport England and the Sheffield eagles working in conjunction with BARLA more grassroots clubs could have been setup?

Working with BARLA ?

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Good question and I've long been asking this myself, for a city with a population of over 500,000 1 amateur side is not good enough. Surely with all the money the RFL got from sport England and the Sheffield eagles working in conjunction with BARLA more grassroots clubs could have been setup?

All the money ? It's not just gone to Sheffield.

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So what is the problem? Why aren't there more stable grassroots clubs in and around Sheffield?

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So what is the problem? Why aren't there more stable grassroots clubs in and around Sheffield?

Used to be about half a dozen around the Sheffield area once upon a time, one of the first games I played was against Sheffield Concord.

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Used to be about half a dozen around the Sheffield area once upon a time, one of the first games I played was against Sheffield Concord.

Really? What happened? And why do teams like Forgers and Drifters pop up and then quickly fade away?

If the Eagles are really serious about Super League, isn't this something that needs addressing first?

Mark Aston made some more bold claims about the supposed latent support for Sheffield this week and was pretty scathing about a couple of existing super league clubs but, given the apparent dearth of interest in the game at grassroots level, where's this support base going to emerge from, let alone the players?

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Really? What happened? And why do teams like Forgers and Drifters pop up and then quickly fade away?

If the Eagles are really serious about Super League, isn't this something that needs addressing first?

Mark Aston made some more bold claims about the supposed latent support for Sheffield this week and was pretty scathing about a couple of existing super league clubs but, given the apparent dearth of interest in the game at grassroots level, where's this support base going to emerge from, let alone the players?

 

At one time Barnsley had loads of clubs too, and there were more in Doncaster. At Open Age there were more teams in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire than there are now.

 

Basically in our area they died a slow death due to having no junior development. BARLA weren't that interested in developing the junior base of the game - the RFL and the pro clubs are only interested in as far as that's where they get elite players from. Whether the rest end up playing Open Age is a very low priority for them.

 

Drifters were only ever a team rather than a club, and there have been lots of those around the game as long as it has existed at amateur level. Forgers tried to be a club but the junior development needed much more support from somehere to try to sustain the decent start it had. Once the juniors went, the Open Age weren't able to sustain themselves either in the summer game (Merit League was too easy/inconsistent and the RLC was too hard) or in the Pennine League (not sure where that went wrong, wasn't involved by then). The pool of Open Age players in Sheffield / Barnsley / Rotherham is pretty low right now - even when there were more teams the same players circulated round.

 

At the Chargers we are still too reliant on Union players but we now have a good number of players who have been with our junior development since 2008/2009. The current U16s are playing Yorkshire Juniors and are proper RL players. Realistically a longer season is needed to convert the Union lads but Pennine League in winter may be too much (and we would have nowhere to play) and Conference South would be too high a standard for a number of years.

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Sounds like the best bet for Sheffield and its surrounding areas would be to build from the bottom up, starting with juniors.

It'll need a big and concerted push from someone to make it happen though.

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Sounds like the best bet for Sheffield and its surrounding areas would be to build from the bottom up, starting with juniors.

It'll need a big and concerted push from someone to make it happen though.

We've already started by taking on one of the Development officers made redundant by the RFL at Doncaster.

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We've already started by taking on one of the Development officers made redundant by the RFL at Doncaster.

Good on you, Jim. But what are the pro clubs doing?

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The Eagles are driving the Primary RL initiative, but response from the local clubs hasn't really been enthusiastic. I personally think it's the way forward.

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Even Hillsborough only have teams at U11s, U12s & U15s in Yorkshire Juniors. So there is a big gap below that.

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Good on you, Jim. But what are the pro clubs doing?

It looks like Doncaster are starting to build their own player base with Balby Dons under 18's (mainly local amateurs)

 

If championship clubs adopted the RLC 2004 system of a short summer season in divisions of 6 teams then they would not be treading on the amateur clubs toes and a better relationship could be forged.

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The Eagles are driving the Primary RL initiative, but response from the local clubs hasn't really been enthusiastic. I personally think it's the way forward.

After years of being shafted local amateur clubs are fukced off (excuse my French) with pro clubs coming along and taking away sheds full of players to be abused and used has cannon fodder, this action tends to leave clubs in South Yorkshire short of players which in turn ends with teams folding leaving administrators and coaches disillusioned.

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After years of being shafted local amateur clubs are fukced off (excuse my French) with pro clubs coming along and taking away sheds full of players to be abused and used has cannon fodder, this action tends to leave clubs in South Yorkshire short of players which in turn ends with teams folding leaving administrators and coaches disillusioned.

Can't disagree with that. I think Primary RL is the way forward, not having pro clubs drive it.

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If championship clubs adopted the RLC 2004 system of a short summer season in divisions of 6 teams then they would not be treading on the amateur clubs toes and a better relationship could be forged.

Treading on toes? Stamping on heads would be more appropriate in many cases.

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The Drifters have taken a year out this season, purely down to the cost of Insurance being increased. As a club the Drifters were run purely off sponsorship money and not from players. Having to pay the insurance cost to play 2 games during the summer didnt make financial sense. A Hillsborough Open Age side in the summer was created and our players were pointed in their direction.

 

The Drifters are looking to build relationships for next season within the South Side of Sheffield during the Winter and see where they go from there.

 

The Sheffield Hallam Eagles do also exist and therefore creating 2 Open Age Sides within Sheffield.

 

I suppose you could look at Sheffield Eagles and the Scholarship set up they have currently. Along with Hillsborough Hawks and this could technically be classified as 2 Junior Set Ups?

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I suppose you could look at Sheffield Eagles and the Scholarship set up they have currently. Along with Hillsborough Hawks and this could technically be classified as 2 Junior Set Ups?

No, not really, because they largely use players from the existing community clubs so it would be double counting.

The cost of insurance for teams wanting to play casual fixtures is very high - exactly the same as a team playing 20+ league fixtures, cups and friendlies.

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Sheffield is a massive city and there's room for multiple clubs if the will is there.

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Tim could there not be an insurance cover on a pay as you play basis? I agree Sheffield has loads of room for multiple clubs. These multiple clubs still need the resources to be funded and where required coaching etc I think this is many teams down falls, purely not having the people who either were initially able to give their free time or sourcing others to do so.

 

A way forward for Sheffield would be to hit the Rugby Union Clubs and try and get Summer sides from these up and running. If this could be achieved then you could have a small city comp for these Union Clubs initially. With the number of Rugby Union teams throughout Sheffield you could easily have a 6-8 Team League.

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MarkSlatz you are a genius!! Why didn't we think of that before. So you just go to a Rugby Union club and next thing you know you have a summer rugby league club. Wow this is amazing.

If everyone goes and visits 5 Rugby Union clubs we could have 100+ new Rugby League clubs before you know it. Quick some one show the RFL this!!

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Tim could there not be an insurance cover on a pay as you play basis? I agree Sheffield has loads of room for multiple clubs. These multiple clubs still need the resources to be funded and where required coaching etc I think this is many teams down falls, purely not having the people who either were initially able to give their free time or sourcing others to do so.

 

A way forward for Sheffield would be to hit the Rugby Union Clubs and try and get Summer sides from these up and running. If this could be achieved then you could have a small city comp for these Union Clubs initially. With the number of Rugby Union teams throughout Sheffield you could easily have a 6-8 Team League.

Easy if every Union club was League friendly & how did well over a 1,000 teams get set up without funding from a central source....That's right they had workers who went out did the leg work running raffles, lotteries, begging and probably stealing.

 

The hardest people to find and keep in the game are the administrators and if you can manage to get 3 or 4 good one's at one club for any real length of time it's classed as a miracle.

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Jim is spot on. The one thing he doesn't mention though is that most clubs are also reliant on the commitment of their players (ie, through subs and memberships) to help them stay afloat.

Ps, the union approach has proven time and again not to work. What we need is committed rugby league people who are prepared to roll up their sleeves and help develop junior roots etc.

However, in places like Sheffield it also requires the active support of the local pro club. Primary RL presents a great opportunity to build from the ground up but it needs people to drive it.

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