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London Drifter

London RL Depth

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If I read it correctly,

London Skolars played 2 teams in London RL

Eastern Rhinos 2 teams also

SW London put 3 teams out?!?

Is the answer to have bigger stronger clubs with more teams? These 3 clubs seem to be doing well!!

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You did have it right.  Chargers played three home games on one day, Skolars providing the opposition in two of those.  Don't forget St Albans, whose development team have also been playing.

 

Personally, I'm not really sure if it is the right way to go.  You need manpower to run a team, probably 2 or 3 guys plus a physio on the sidelines.  Skolars B have only played one league game this year, previously playing friendlies, and this was the first genuine Chargers B side, the previous team being the A grade on a bye weekend under a different banner.

 

In my view, it works for those who it works for.  For Skolars because the A side is dual function - both an elite amateur side and a pro reserve side - and they have found a need for a B grade.  It works for Rhinos and Cents because they are the only game in town.  It works for Chargers because they're training centrally, they have enough resource to do it and are a Premier side.  You cannot underestimate how strong a pull Premier rugby is right now.

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I see Staines Titans had to scratch their game v Hemel A at the weekend. Shame that they're struggling for numbers when near neighbours seem to have a surplus - get some of the Chargers reserves over there!

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You did have it right.  Chargers played three home games on one day, Skolars providing the opposition in two of those.  Don't forget St Albans, whose development team have also been playing.
 
Personally, I'm not really sure if it is the right way to go.  You need manpower to run a team, probably 2 or 3 guys plus a physio on the sidelines.  Skolars B have only played one league game this year, previously playing friendlies, and this was the first genuine Chargers B side, the previous team being the A grade on a bye weekend under a different banner.
 
In my view, it works for those who it works for.  For Skolars because the A side is dual function - both an elite amateur side and a pro reserve side - and they have found a need for a B grade.  It works for Rhinos and Cents because they are the only game in town.  It works for Chargers because they're training centrally, they have enough resource to do it and are a Premier side.  You cannot underestimate how strong a pull Premier rugby is right now.

 

I think it is the right way to go where there's the local player base. Clearly you and Newham show the need for small clubs in areas where there's no other clubs. On the other hand I'm not convinced Esher setting up next to Elmbridge was beneficial though, would be better if they had 2 teams at one club

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I see Staines Titans had to scratch their game v Hemel A at the weekend. Shame that they're struggling for numbers when near neighbours seem to have a surplus - get some of the Chargers reserves over there!

 

I don't think it's quite so simple, especially given their respective training venues are hardly down the road from each other.  Staines were supposed to be bringing players through from the juniors and garnishing them with players out of the successful St Mary's University program.  I don't want this to be a fact-free conversation but, for whatever reason, their players haven't stepped up to the plate.  I am aware they pushed really hard to get into the Premier and a lot of people, myself included, said this was a mistake.  Then again, where would we be without them?  Five team Premier?

 

 

I think it is the right way to go where there's the local player base. Clearly you and Newham show the need for small clubs in areas where there's no other clubs. On the other hand I'm not convinced Esher setting up next to Elmbridge was beneficial though, would be better if they had 2 teams at one club

 

 

Well, again, it's what works at the club.  Newham seem a lot more diverse than us, though EastLondonMike would obviously speak as an expert on that.  We are out in the suburbs, so our players come from the neighbouring areas.  I'd say what we've created here could be replicated, though we've benefitted from experienced former RL players coming back to the game and committing to us.  We've had some fantastic success with union converts but it's the RL experience which is managing the game.

 

Elmbridge are in a strange predicament.  They're clearly a strong club with the only dedicated facility in the league., which we'd all want if it was in our area. If we had something like they have, I'd be running as many teams as they do.  However, the open age isn't quite as strong as it was and they're reliant on juniors playing up.

 

However, would Esher strengthen them in any way?  Esher are a one-man band, the one man being London RL stalwart Mike Benson (he of "retiring a dozen times before coming back to play for Oxford RL this season" fame).  He tapped a bunch of RU guys he knows, got them training in Clapham and found them a matchday home in the Surrey stockbroker belt.  These guys couldn't or wouldn't train in Esher so a merger with Elmbridge wouldn't work.  They'd likely work better by strengthening Chargers or going out to Thornton Heath to help the new Storm.

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If I read it correctly,

London Skolars played 2 teams in London RL

Eastern Rhinos 2 teams also

SW London put 3 teams out?!?

Is the answer to have bigger stronger clubs with more teams? These 3 clubs seem to be doing well!!

 

 

 

You did have it right.  Chargers played three home games on one day, Skolars providing the opposition in two of those.  Don't forget St Albans, whose development team have also been playing.
 
Personally, I'm not really sure if it is the right way to go.  You need manpower to run a team, probably 2 or 3 guys plus a physio on the sidelines.  Skolars B have only played one league game this year, previously playing friendlies, and this was the first genuine Chargers B side, the previous team being the A grade on a bye weekend under a different banner.
 
In my view, it works for those who it works for.  For Skolars because the A side is dual function - both an elite amateur side and a pro reserve side - and they have found a need for a B grade.  It works for Rhinos and Cents because they are the only game in town.  It works for Chargers because they're training centrally, they have enough resource to do it and are a Premier side.  You cannot underestimate how strong a pull Premier rugby is right now.

 

 

Good answer bbfaz.

 

Is the answer bigger stronger clubs with more teams?  I think every team and their set up is different.

Going through the London Prem teams,   I have heard from clubs/players etc, that London Skolars play most of their  spare 1st team squad that can't get in to the 1st team side for Sundays games as their 'A' team.  Their old 'A' team now has to do with the very occasional game as their 'B' team in the merit league.  This does no one any favours, playing semi pro players in what is really an amateur league (yes I know its officially called an open league.)   Rhinos player told me they had eight 1st teamers in the game when they played against them.

Eastern Rhinos seem to be made up of union players from several ru clubs in the area (and a few rl stalwarts) so have a reasonable catchment area, probably only when the union season is over though.

SW London seem to be a success story with teams playing in Prem, 1st div and merit league.

St Albans have a list of regular fixtures on their website for their development team in the merit league.

Hemel Stags, I haven't a clue to what teams they run or what their set up is as they don't have anything on their website.

Staines Titans don't seem able to get a first team out, never mind any others.

 

As bbfaz says above,  'You cannot underestimate how strong a pull Premier rugby is right now', but only when managed correctly and on an even playing field. Then it might grow.

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I have heard from clubs/players etc, that London Skolars play most of their spare 1st team squad that can't get in to the 1st team side for Sundays games as their 'A' team. Their old 'A' team now has to do with the very occasional game as their 'B' team in the merit league. This does no one any favours, playing semi pro players in what is really an amateur league (yes I know its officially called an open league.) Rhinos player told me they had eight 1st teamers in the game when they played against them.

By all accounts Skolars had 8 first teamers playing in the game against SW London too ... Pretty embarrassing for Skolars if true ... Chargers won 49 - 16

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Good answer bbfaz.

 

Is the answer bigger stronger clubs with more teams?  I think every team and their set up is different.

Going through the London Prem teams,   I have heard from clubs/players etc, that London Skolars play most of their  spare 1st team squad that can't get in to the 1st team side for Sundays games as their 'A' team.  Their old 'A' team now has to do with the very occasional game as their 'B' team in the merit league.  This does no one any favours, playing semi pro players in what is really an amateur league (yes I know its officially called an open league.)   Rhinos player told me they had eight 1st teamers in the game when they played against them.

Eastern Rhinos seem to be made up of union players from several ru clubs in the area (and a few rl stalwarts) so have a reasonable catchment area, probably only when the union season is over though.

SW London seem to be a success story with teams playing in Prem, 1st div and merit league.

St Albans have a list of regular fixtures on their website for their development team in the merit league.

Hemel Stags, I haven't a clue to what teams they run or what their set up is as they don't have anything on their website.

Staines Titans don't seem able to get a first team out, never mind any others.

 

As bbfaz says above,  'You cannot underestimate how strong a pull Premier rugby is right now', but only when managed correctly and on an even playing field. Then it might grow.

I think Skolars A is a tricky one as under the current format they should be playing in CL South. But this would be a massive travel burden and the game in the region needs to decide whether to build up London Premier as an alternative to CLS or whether to send the better sides to CLS (including pro A teams) and divide the rest between London division 1 and East premier. Hemel run an A team and they have Under 19s in the Championship South U19 then juniors below that

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Maybe the answer is to have a criteria for London Premier that requires you to have a 2nd team or development team?

Skolars, Chargers, Rhinos, & St Albans do already ... It would show the clubs have depth in squad numbers and could only strengthen the division one / entry leagues?

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Conference League South has a rule you must either have a reserve team or be the reserve team to a pro club and either juniors or a pro academy are required. The league should aspire to that, guess you'd have to have Chargers adopt Richmond Warriors or similar? Definitely the better east or SE clubs would be preferable to Staines

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Chargers have no interest in adopting juniors.  Their chairman's mindset, which he acquired when in charge of South London Storm, was that successful senior and junior clubs are two totally different and contradictory things in London.  You lose the juniors at 16 and then you have to win them back at 22.  Far better in his mind to let the junior clubs run themselves for their own good and build a successful seniors club that the juniors will be attracted to when they're old enough.

 

If we're specifically talking about Richmond Warriors, the irony is that while Richmond-upon-Thames and Staines-upon-Thames are 11 miles apart, Staines Titans and Richmond Warriors are based about a mile apart.  You can drive from Feltham RFC to Twickenham RFC, where they base themselves respectively, in less than 10 minutes.  Given this, let me ask you all a question, which might prove Cam Paul's point - where are Staines' first team this year if having junior teams makes a difference?  Staines had 16s and 19s last season, Richmond are a mile away and had a 16s.  Make your own minds up.

 

As for standards for the Premier Division, I think we need standards across the league with regards to committee sizes.  St Albans were quite impressive to me, they have a quite a few people involved up there, Elmbridge also, while a couple of teams are one-man bands.  I look at Wests Warriors and they have the infrastructure and committee to play in a regular league next season. Having a strong team helps but we saw what happens when you don't have people off the field this season with Hammersmith.  Would demanding a seconds team fix the issues of reliability?  Hemel A don't dip but they don't have a B grade.

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The midlands and NE seem to do a better job of linking adults to juniors than London and South Wales. Having said that the introduction of extra academy sides killed the thriving 9 team U16 league we had and left us with 4 sides last year, this year there's 7 teams in the merit league (2 of them west country) plus Coventry are meant to be playing elsewhere in festivals (plus the U16 academy). Coventry Bears, Nottingham, Leicester and Northampton have a good set up, as do Chargers at juniors (they struggle to carry it through due to the proximity of Sheffield academy). Telford manage the younger age groups and open age but always struggle with U16

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I see Staines Titans had to scratch their game v Hemel A at the weekend. Shame that they're struggling for numbers when near neighbours seem to have a surplus - get some of the Chargers reserves over there!

 

Same applied for the away game at Eastern Rhinos on May 10 sad to say.

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They've called off their away game at Eastern Rhinos this coming Saturday already. Probably best they drop out and play merit league

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Sorry to say but it does not sound very good with teams and clubs struggling playing numbers down with only a few clubs appearing stable, last week there were 33 matches outside of Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria nationwide at open age, if all teams had 17 players (which we know they did not) that equals about 1100 players playing the game at open age level throughout the country

I personally do not thing this is a good return after years of trying, and I have asked the question before what are the RFL doing to reverse the trend as nobody apart from some saying, get the volunteers to work harder, this is before the true holiday season and the re-start of the RU season in September

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After Staines pulled out against Hemel, Troy Perkins from Hemel was openly discussing Staines on Twitter, saying it's basically a five-team league now.  Problem is, they either play as a five team league and expunge Staines' record or they find a replacement.  The obvious team to call up is Hammersmith and there is of course plenty of precedent about moving teams up mid-season.  To be honest, I think they bloody owe the rest of us.

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I can see Staines dropping out of the London Prem, but I don't know about HHH stepping up, as the last time I spoke to one of them the story was they have plenty of players, just no one willing to step up to run the club admin wise.  And they don't want to travel too far.   One idea, next season, maybe join together the top five clubs from the Eastern League with SW Chargers, St Albans and Eastern Rhinos and have a fourteen week season plus cup games.  Skolars A and Hemel A could join the Conference League South, they are  Championship One teams A teams after all.

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SWL Chargers present the difficulty in such a scenario as they wouldn't meet CLS criteria, I doubt they'd be interested anyway given the ethos of the 2 clubs they came from, they'd smash everyone in London 1 but east premier or South East aren't an exact match either. If you really wanted a strong league you'd need to get better SE clubs involved but that comes with a travel burden and would carve up a very successful SE regional (which may have to merge with London 1 if clubs stepped up I guess?)

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What is the fascination with Confrence League South?

For what is an amateur competition it puts a lot of pressure on players and clubs due to the spread of the clubs.

If a London team was to join the current league the travel times (assuming from Central London) would range from 2hrs Oxford to 3 1/2 hours Sheffield with the others around the 3 hour mark. That's an average of 5 to 6 hours per game. Leaving home around 9am on a Sunday and arriving home around 8pm.

That changes a fun afternoon with your mates on a Saturday into a pretty big commitment taking up every second Sunday.

Imagine those travel times for Eastern Rhinos or Medway?

The answer has to be to split Tier 4 competition outside the heartlands. Existing CLS be for Wales, South West, Midlands and a new equivalent CLS be set up to incorporate East, London, & South East.

The winners of each comp could play each other at years end.

That has to be the focus of the London, East, & South East clubs ... When or if this will ever happen will yet to be seen.

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CLS may be a necessary evil for some sides if London premier collapses but other than that I agree with everything you say.

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I think there seems to be a big problem across the London leagues at the moment with player buy in. I've never known so many clubs who were strong a year or so ago who are now struggling to field teams.

I do think we're really lucky at the Dockers that we have no other RL clubs nearby, in that anyone who is new to the game who lives central, east or in north London will consider us they're nearest club.. That includes people who love in north east Essex too.

The big thing about fielding a number of teams per club is, as has been mentioned, having a decent amount of volunteers and coaches involved at the club who are passionate, patient and prepared to get stuck in.

If every club had half a dozen people like that I reckon most could find a couple of teams to field.

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What is the fascination with Confrence League South?

For what is an amateur competition it puts a lot of pressure on players and clubs due to the spread of the clubs.

If a London team was to join the current league the travel times (assuming from Central London) would range from 2hrs Oxford to 3 1/2 hours Sheffield with the others around the 3 hour mark. That's an average of 5 to 6 hours per game. Leaving home around 9am on a Sunday and arriving home around 8pm.

That changes a fun afternoon with your mates on a Saturday into a pretty big commitment taking up every second Sunday.

Imagine those travel times for Eastern Rhinos or Medway?

The answer has to be to split Tier 4 competition outside the heartlands. Existing CLS be for Wales, South West, Midlands and a new equivalent CLS be set up to incorporate East, London, & South East.

The winners of each comp could play each other at years end.

That has to be the focus of the London, East, & South East clubs ... When or if this will ever happen will yet to be seen.

Games are Saturday.

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Games are Saturday.

Almost makes it worse. You can't go out Friday night, & your whole Saturday and Saturday night is taken up.

If you are a good player you may as well trial for Hemel & Skolars. It's the same level of commitment, or just continue playing with your mates in and around London.

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I've been pretty consistent in my view that Conference League South is a dog's breakfast of a league.  Basucally there's not enough teams to create a proper Midlands Premier and so the group of teams who are a bit better are joined by teams who are unusually serious for their region, such as Bristol Sonics.

 

I can see Staines dropping out of the London Prem, but I don't know about HHH stepping up, as the last time I spoke to one of them the story was they have plenty of players, just no one willing to step up to run the club admin wise.  And they don't want to travel too far.   One idea, next season, maybe join together the top five clubs from the Eastern League with SW Chargers, St Albans and Eastern Rhinos and have a fourteen week season plus cup games.

 

I sound like a broken record but I said to the RFL that Staines were not suitable for the Premier, given they dropped out of the Entry League playoffs last year for spurious reasons (no money to travel to Newham!).  Staines would have been perfect to be the sixth team in Division 1.  Short away trips to Esher, Elmbridge and Chargers A, they could have fielded a young side and been reasonably competitive.

 

You're right, Hammersmith lack off-field staff and have no ground.  However, if they could find a way to do SOMETHING, they would at least be reasonably competitive and Staines can head back to the entry league to start again.  I guess the lesson is don't run before you can walk.  It would be interesting to hear from Staines on this one though.  Anybody have any contacts there?

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