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London Drifter

London Cup Final

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Croydon's U13s and U16s winning titles last weekend.

Need for an OA club?

Perhaps you should speak to the Hurricanes about launching an open age side at Frant Road.

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It's not just the Hurricanes though, Pottsy.  Brixton and Croydon, along with the defunct Thornton Heath Tornadoes, Addington Lightning and Wandsworth Whirlwinds were feeder clubs for the Academy and men's open age setup.  Problem is, it takes money to run those sorts of teams, just as it takes money to run an RL academy out of a school.  We need to find a way around these problems so that we can keep kids involved.

 

If there's a model in the world of sport, it would have to be IF Brommapojkarna in Swedish football, who are from Bromma in Western Stockholm.  By terms of the most teams, the Boys from Bromma are the biggest football club in the world with 247 teams.  These teams are run by volunteers as a hierarchical network where the best filter up the age groups and levels.  They have very little money, their entire squad is local Swedish lads and I think their secret is the answer to all our problems in London.

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Those cluster clubs mainly came about long after I left Storm and I did always wonder whether the club was spreading itself a little thinly, knowing the number of volunteers it takes to run one team, let alone multiple 'clubs.'

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Thornton Heath Tornados, Wandsworth Wirlwinds, & Addington Lightning wouldn't have played 5 games between them.

Croydon has always been the main South London Community junior club and Brixton it's second cousin - both very solid clubs though and Croydons success has been long and fruitful. It was great to see Brixton get their first title this year also.

The problem for both of these clubs is that after under 16's the players drift away - even in Storms hey day the conversion was poor.

I have always thought that either Croydon should have been called Storm or Storm been called Croydon - most of the kids didn't even know what Storm was.

When you look at Medway & Elmbridge arguably the two most successful junior clubs with senior teams - they might just be onto something?

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There's always going to be drop off post-16. Kids want money, they work evenings and weekends and go out with friends. No matter what the sport, it's the age where you have to start taking things seriously and choose it over numerous other distractions. Add in kids going away to university, this is why so many players have a gap from 16-22.

Is the answer open age teams at Brixton and Croydon? I don't think so. The amount of players needed to continually feed an open age setup is enormous. I've said before, there needs to be a junior side in Sutton/Carshalton for starters. What's needed is a junior club at the open age club with excellent links to the cluster clubs so the kids at those clubs feel part of it.

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I honestly don't think 'cluster clubs' work. Nice idea and all that but absolutely no evidence to suggest these kids (other than the small minority who get picked up by pro clubs) male the transition to open age rugby at the 'parent club' or anywhere else.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but would a kid who'd been dragged down to Brixton Bulls really feel any natural affiliation with South London Storm?

The clubs in London would be better off looking at works for rugby clubs in London and elsewhere in the country rather than over stretching themselves on schemes with no real precedent of success.

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Multiple teams at the same age group? That's the only way I can see RU club in our area doing it.

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Multiple teams at the same age group? That's the only way I can see RU club in our area doing it.

Teams not clubs. There's a big difference.

If a kid plays U8s at Stanningley, it doesn't matter whether it's Stannngley Red or Stanningley Blue, he knows he's a Stanningley kid and is more likely to develop a lifelong affinity with that club.

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Well, Elmbridge have primacy of tenancy as do most of the teams in the north.  To do it properly, you need more pitches, you need control over the facility and I would think you'd need an all-weather pitch.  Discounting minis and primary rugby, just concentrating on two teams per age group from 12s to 16s and having two open age sides and a 19s squad, I think this would cost well into six figures for us to do it properly whilst being a tenant.  I think we'd have to go over two or more sites also.  That's the thinking which means you end up with cluster clubs rather than doing it all on one site.

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Well, Elmbridge have primacy of tenancy as do most of the teams in the north. To do it properly, you need more pitches, you need control over the facility and I would think you'd need an all-weather pitch. Discounting minis and primary rugby, just concentrating on two teams per age group from 12s to 16s and having two open age sides and a 19s squad, I think this would cost well into six figures for us to do it properly whilst being a tenant. I think we'd have to go over two or more sites also. That's the thinking which means you end up with cluster clubs rather than doing it all on one site.

Serious question - How would splitting it over a number of sites save you money? It must be easier to hire one venue for 3 hours than 3 venues for 1hour each?

Six Figures? :-o WOW - I bet Hemel and Skolars budgets are not even that. They both run two senior teams, Skolars have an academy and they have junior teams.

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I'm a bit confused here. You alluded to the fact that Storm's cluster clubs didn't deliver any players to the open age but then suggest that you think that's the best approach.

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If you were talking to me, I have no such opinion.  I'm saying probably the only way we could do it under our current parameters is to go the cluster club route because the costs of doing a full junior section would be prohibitive at our current ground and there isn't the capacity due to other sports.

 

Our RU near-neighbours have four pitches with motorised floodlights and a £1m clubhouse.  They have multi-generational support amongst the community and four or five key sponsors/backers.  As a result, they have teams from under-7s to Vets, including five senior sides, as well as a ladies team and three girls teams.  They're not even one of the top sides in London, they're just one of the better local amateur clubs.

 

When you look at the RL clubs inside the M25, there's only two clubs who have their own clubhouse; Elmbridge and B&D.  Beckenham, Thames Ditton and Greenwich (before they folded) rented privately from multi-sport clubs.  Skolars rent off the council, Brixton and Croydon have tenuous partnerships with schools, Mudchute don't even have a home ground.  The rest (Richmond, Staines, Chargers, Hammersmith, Newham and Charlton) are based at their local RU clubs and will be joined in 2014 by Enfield and South London.

 

You can't put two teams out per age group out on rented pitches, there's too much in the way of liabilities.  A lot of the time, clubs aren't in areas where parents have a lot of money so it can be a real struggle.   Clubs cannot reinvest monies taken in the clubhouse back into the club because that is what keeps your landlord happy.

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For those who missed the news:

London Premier champs: SWL Chargers (20-10 over the Hammersmith Hills Hoists)

SE Regional League champs: Portsmouth Navy Seahawks (27-22 over Medway Dragons)

Entry League champs: Newham Dockers (10-6 over SWL Chargers A)

 

Congrats especially to the Dockers who have had a hell of a turnaround.  Very organised, got better across the season and broke up a potential Chargers sweep.  Looking forward to next season.

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Paging bulldog_paddy... what's happened at the Kennel?  The B&D Bulldogs have announced an EGM at the end of the month to vote on dissolving the club.  What's going on?

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Paging bulldog_paddy... what's happened at the Kennel? The B&D Bulldogs have announced an EGM at the end of the month to vote on dissolving the club. What's going on?

bbfaz - did you find out what happened here?

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Got a reply from whomever runs their Twitter account, they're struggling for volunteers.  Not sure if this is coaching - they ran under-19s as well as seniors least season - or just general administration but they're seriously considering calling it a day at the end of the month.

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Speaking of next year... South London (Sto...?) will be back. We wanted it to happen this year, but this summer has seen the first stage of the £1m redevelopment of Streatham-Croydon RFC - our home of old, including new stand, showers, sheds, car park, perimeter fencing, floodlights and terracing. Next stage is a complete refurb of the clubhouse.  

 

 

There'll be a South London re-launch meeting in September. So until then... watch this space.

 

Keep us informed please Number 16.  Could there be the old South London and (South)West London back in London Prem next season ?

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