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tim2

Outlaws Open Letter

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It's time for some fresh thinking in the community game. For the Outlaws, the NCL is possibly the best option but they may not be strong enough on the pitch and that may be damaging. If this were Midlands teams or Southern teams or Welsh teams not showing up, that would be one thing. But "Premier" Yorkshire teams? Something is badly wrong.


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Nottingham Outlaws have published an open letter looking to draw attention to the challenges of the last few years, and also to share our hopes for the future. Please share this post in order for it to reach the widest audience possible:

The start of the 2018 season saw Nottingham Outlaws finally secure a permanent home for rugby league in the city. This was a significant milestone for the club, and one that the club’s volunteers have been working hard to achieve for several years.

Since April when we were first able to host fixtures, our new venue at Lenton Lane has run regular men’s, women’s, juniors and social touch rugby sessions. We have also hosted schools rugby league festivals and student fixtures. Despite this amount of activity, our 1st Team has only played two home games in three months. In recent weeks we are finding ourselves severely tested by this lack of fixtures, and the situation is rapidly becoming unsustainable.

After the Conference League South collapsed at the end of the 2016 season, the Yorkshire League kindly accepted us into their competition. Whilst the clubs have been very welcoming and the playing standard has been high, unfortunately some clubs were not strong enough to complete the 2017 season, and we ended up losing out on 4 of our scheduled 9 home league games.

With an influx of new clubs re-strengthening the Yorkshire Premier Division for 2018, we were hopeful that this situation would not be repeated. However, for our last 3 consecutive home games, our prospective opponents have either cancelled or postponed the scheduled fixture. This situation has left us without a First Team game in a month, and without a home game for 2 months. The lack of home games and associated income poses a significant risk to our future as we have to meet ongoing costs to cover the rent and upkeep of our facility. They also limit our ability to grow as a club, as we cannot market ourselves effectively while facing the risk of games being cancelled. It also has a detrimental impact on player retention as players become disillusioned with the lack of games. Each fixture cancellation therefore damages the credibility of the sport in our region, and erodes the goodwill and enthusiasm of the players, volunteers, supporters and sponsors involved.

Given the lack of stability and reliability with the current Yorkshire League format, we will be exploring all potential playing options for our 1st Team for next season, whether that be a revised Yorkshire League competition, the National Conference League, or any relaunch of CLS. It is Nottingham Outlaws’ aim to become a hub for community rugby league in our region, and we will strive to continue to provide playing opportunities for men, women, juniors and non-contact players, as well as hosting schools and university fixtures. In the future we also hope to provide opportunities for masters and physical disability rugby league.

The Outlaws committee decided to write this open letter, as we felt the need to highlight some of the serious problems that we as a club and also that the wider game is currently facing. Since joining RLC National in 2009, Outlaws have been able to provide our players with a full-length playing season at an appropriate standard. In the Midlands and South there is currently no suitable competitive option for us, as no regions operate any competition structure outside of a truncated May-August window. Worringly, three of the Midland’s traditionally strongest clubs in Leicester Storm, Coventry Dragons and Northampton Demons have all folded in the past two years, and we feel steps need to be taken to remedy these issues.

Looking ahead to future seasons, creative solutions are required that will involve dialogue and input from both the clubs and the governing body. In terms of the 2018 season, we sincerely hope that the Yorkshire League is able to get back on track after the spate of recent postponements, as the club has a very real opportunity to reach the Premier Division play-offs. As such, we hope that our members and supporters will back our endeavours with renewed enthusiasm, and continue to enjoy their rugby league at Lenton Lane for the remainder of the season and beyond.
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25 minutes ago, tim2 said:

It's time for some fresh thinking in the community game. For the Outlaws, the NCL is possibly the best option but they may not be strong enough on the pitch and that may be damaging. If this were Midlands teams or Southern teams or Welsh teams not showing up, that would be one thing. But "Premier" Yorkshire teams? Something is badly wrong.



I don't think we would be miles away from the playing strength of NCL3. If you look at Beverley, they finished 4th in Yorkshire Premier last season and are currently sitting 6 points clear at the top of NCL3. I think we struggled last year but have recruited reasonably well and are currently 4th in the league with most of our remaining games at home. 

Additionally (and this is exactly what we said when we joined Yorkshire Premier), it's better to struggle and improve than either 1) not be challenged sufficiently or 2) not play enough games. 

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Just now, Saint 1 said:

I don't think we would be miles away from the playing strength of NCL3. If you look at Beverley, they finished 4th in Yorkshire Premier last season and are currently sitting 6 points clear at the top of NCL3. I think we struggled last year but have recruited reasonably well and are currently 4th in the league with most of our remaining games at home. 

Additionally (and this is exactly what we said when we joined Yorkshire Premier), it's better to struggle and improve than either 1) not be challenged sufficiently or 2) not play enough games. 

Fair points. I actually think it's the best option for a club with serious intentions. Outside of the heartlands there are pockets of resistance but with the RFL declaring a £2m loss it's not going to be them who sorts out the problems.

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The standards of the game below Super League are dropping season after season on and off the pitch. I went to Nottingham to watch them play Featherstone Lions in the CLS a few years ago and the team I watched would fare well enough in the NCL 3. My club are currently playing in NCL 3 and I watch amateur RL all over the Country as well. Have done for many years. Apply for NCL 3. You won't lose as many fixtures because clubs that do that are punished heavily, but you will have teams turning up with less than 17 players and sometimes with less than 13. Good luck.

Forget the RFL. If you are not in Super Greed you don't matter.

 

Edited by Celtic Rooster
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19 minutes ago, Celtic Rooster said:

The standards of the game below Super League are dropping season after season on and off the pitch. I went to Nottingham to watch them play Featherstone Lions in the CLS a few years ago and the team I watched would fare well enough in the NCL 3. My club are currently playing in NCL 3 and I watch amateur RL all over the Country as well. Have done for many years. Apply for NCL 3. You won't lose as many fixtures because clubs that do that are punished heavily, but you will have teams turning up with less than 17 players and sometimes with less than 13. Good luck.

Forget the RFL. If you are not in Super Greed you don't matter.

 

Unfortunately a salient point, that is spreading like the wildfires of Saddleworth Moor.

if the the RFL are posting a loss I assume cost cutting will take effect, I honestly fear for the future of the game in this country

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5 hours ago, Saint 1 said:

I don't think we would be miles away from the playing strength of NCL3. If you look at Beverley, they finished 4th in Yorkshire Premier last season and are currently sitting 6 points clear at the top of NCL3. I think we struggled last year but have recruited reasonably well and are currently 4th in the league with most of our remaining games at home. 

Additionally (and this is exactly what we said when we joined Yorkshire Premier), it's better to struggle and improve than either 1) not be challenged sufficiently or 2) not play enough games. 

Beverley will not be nowhere near the side of last season and like yourself will have recruited the best available from around the Hull area.

I also watch a lot of rugby league winter and summer and I think you'll be surprised by the strength of a lot of the Pennine teams outside of the top division (We've just had a third player go to Hemel) 

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6 minutes ago, Marauder said:

Beverley will not be nowhere near the side of last season and like yourself will have recruited the best available from around the Hull area.

I also watch a lot of rugby league winter and summer and I think you'll be surprised by the strength of a lot of the Pennine teams outside of the top division (We've just had a third player go to Hemel) 

Fair point, but I wasn't saying we would repeat what Beverley have done, merely that it is a standard we could probably live with.

What does the Pennine League have to do with anything? Hemel (and others) are also signing players from the Midlands league and the 2nd division of student RL. 

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Beverley lads told me NCL3 is not as good a standard as YML Premier, but as has previously been said if the team doesn’t turn up it’s £500 fine also two strikes and you have to apply for re-election. Teams enter these leagues knowing they must travel and if they cannot travel in YMLPremier well where do we go, on one of your other points most teams are only playing 1-2 games a month after the initial excitement of the start of the season

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1 hour ago, Saint 1 said:

Fair point, but I wasn't saying we would repeat what Beverley have done, merely that it is a standard we could probably live with.

What does the Pennine League have to do with anything? Hemel (and others) are also signing players from the Midlands league and the 2nd division of student RL. 

Your talking standards on the park and many Pennine sides would do very well in the YML Premier and NCL 3 and as for signing for Hemel, well we'll leave that alone because it's not correct to repeat what I've heard about standards.

Well teams left the BARLA leagues to get more fixtures, what they are finding is this isn't happening.

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1 hour ago, Defender1 said:

Beverley lads told me NCL3 is not as good a standard as YML Premier, but as has previously been said if the team doesn’t turn up it’s £500 fine also two strikes and you have to apply for re-election. Teams enter these leagues knowing they must travel and if they cannot travel in YMLPremier well where do we go, on one of your other points most teams are only playing 1-2 games a month after the initial excitement of the start of the season

I can't remember who it was but they pointed out and had a dig at the Pennine because of the differences in games played between teams in the same division - Take note of every division in the YML and you'll find exactly the same,

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15 hours ago, Marauder said:

Beverley will not be nowhere near the side of last season and like yourself will have recruited the best available from around the Hull area.

I'm not sure that's true. I watched Beverley towards the end of last season (well beaten at home by Siddal Academy), and again at the start of this (hammered a depleted SCR), and many of their players looked familiar. Anyone from Beverley care to tell us what did (or did not) go on during the winter?

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18 hours ago, Defender1 said:

Beverley lads told me NCL3 is not as good a standard as YML Premier, but as has previously been said if the team doesn’t turn up it’s £500 fine also two strikes and you have to apply for re-election. Teams enter these leagues knowing they must travel and if they cannot travel in YMLPremier well where do we go, on one of your other points most teams are only playing 1-2 games a month after the initial excitement of the start of the season

Part of the problem is that in YML it is too easy to postpone games, even if only 1 of the teams wants to do so. There isn't much incentive for teams to turn up with anything other than their strongest team. 

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7 hours ago, Saint 1 said:

Part of the problem is that in YML it is too easy to postpone games, even if only 1 of the teams wants to do so. There isn't much incentive for teams to turn up with anything other than their strongest team. 

Do you think there should be penalties, as in forfeit 2 in a season and be automatically demoted at seasons end?

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19 hours ago, DoubleD said:

Do you think there should be penalties, as in forfeit 2 in a season and be automatically demoted at seasons end?

I think if there were penalties, fewer teams would postpone or forfeit. Whether that is a points deduction or loss of the club's bond with the league, who knows (our original open letter actually included a bit of a look at improvements, but was cut to limit the length). At the end of the day I've been either side of travelling with short numbers, and I'd rather that happen than kick the can down the road, hoping the problem magically resolves itself in a month or two. If the league was just stricter with postponements (i.e. you must have genuinely extreme circumstances), a lot of the games would probably go ahead with shorter numbers. 

I think the other thing is that postponements actually punish the team who were willing to play. When the fixtures come out at the start of the year, players make plans for the allocated gap weekends. When a team can decide to postpone the fixture because they can't get their strongest team out, it ends up getting shifted to the gap weekend, and the effect is two-fold. First of all, the team that postponed get to wait to get their players back, but also we lose players who have been organised and made plans around the fixture list! 

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The worst thing is that teams are struggling, looking at the attitude of the RFL the game is booming, our A team has its first game for a month, away as usual and we are struggling to put out a decent 17 as everyone has either drifted off or made other arrangements due to lack of continuity, and we have 43 signed on 

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How can you penalise a club when they can't raise a team, I bet the people doing 75% if not more of the fund raising at any club will be the none playing committee, it's these guys who are getting hit hard not the players and along with the players not committing, league fines and the wife nagging is there any wonder the game is going downwards very fast (Heard a stalwart at Fev Lions has recently jacked because it's become to much)

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Batley Boys would be okay in NCL 3 and above hopefully we are accepted this year as we finished top last year and on course to this year and had wonderful run in the cup  

we are  been watched by NCL in a few weeks and our club is booming from tots to open age

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