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groundhopper

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  1. 3 games in just over 48 hours probably the same players for each
  2. I have been trying to look at this rationally The heart wants there to be clubs everywhere but I have been watching long enough to know that starting with a logo and website is not the hardest bit It may be possible to start a team with the right budget and follow the Toronto route but no club has succeeded in even the medium term without the foundations and it is unlikely owners want to pour in a seven figure sum annually The club is right to identify that the only route is to use mostly local players but they simply do not exist. Players will not switch from Pirates or Redruth and there are only six other clubs in the top seven levels of RU and only Camborne and St Austell in six and above I accept players can come from Devon but level 7 in Yorkshire is Yorkshire 1 so the equivalent clubs are Middlesbrough, Goole, Selby, Bradford Salem and Old Crossleyans and Old Rishworthians. It is hard to compare but a combined team from these would probably be competitive if the players could get up to speed quickly. Many would have played both codes. This assumes however that the money would be significantly better to justify the switch and players who only play in the County would want to spend up to nine hours each way on a coach. Apart from the players then sponsorship and gate receipts are vital. Cornish Pirates are admittedly not central but don’t get 2000 and on present tables are 16th in RU in total. Redruth which is Cornwall’s biggest RU area are top and had 810 yesterday. Both to some extent represent the county. and both have many schools playing the game and the latter st least are a. major part of the community. Crowds aren’t available but I doubt Falmouth, Penryn and Truro get more than 600 If the players are not available then the results will be awful and the first few matches are essential to build the interest. With a big crowd for the first game maybe they can beat Hurricanes but preparation time is running out but to wind games away in Yorkshire is wildly optimistic. A season in the Southern Conference would give the opportunity for shorter journeys although probably more miles than almost any other RL tea, support to be built up and a club spirit to be made. This may just give them the chance. Cornwall is certainly crying out for a decent team in any sport but not one using the mane and struggling against frequently unknown opposition. Please Cornwall proved me wrong. As stated at the top of this thread it may gain new converts and new players
  3. Kings Cross Park 40 Woodhouse Warriors 22 I thought this was a great set up, fully enclosed ground with when walking up from the town, high walls to one side allowing the pitch to be level. There is a nice club house and even a real ale, from Bradfield Brewery today. It would take little to get the facilities up to NCL, should that ever be their aim, with two provisions. There is a cricket scoreboard on one side although I am sot sure there is a team still as no discernible square. The other is something I have seen before, possibly at Batley Boys where all kicks are taken at the same end. The pitch seems full size but in goal areas are very small. Woodhouse were second going into the game but we’re always behind and there was no shortage of points scored especially in the first half. Thankfully I was in the god company of Martin from Sheffield or would not have known one lad scored a hat trick for the hosts. For anyone local or that matter further away like Martin and I, a clubI would strongly recommend. They tweeted the game on the night before which is always useful attendance about 70
  4. I have refrained from commenting on this so far because I was unsure of my own thoughts and that is still the case. The first thing to take into account is I know Bearman vaguely having chatted to him a fair bit one the team coach going to Workington a couple of year ago. I would describe Coventry as my team if any as I head a season ticket pre pandemic Running a team in the Midlands is beyond a challenge and almost impossible and they have been going about 20 years. In that time almost every decision made by him and Alan has been proven to be wise, so as someone who does no more than turn up and pay I cannot challenge the reasoning and this does seem to be a choice between what could turn out to be a great opportunity against no club. That does not mean I do not have strong reservations, the Bears were a Coventry club, especially in the unseen work in the background Sky Try, going into schools etc and working with the universities and this may be harder if they are not identified with the city directly. I am sure this has been thought of and hopefully there will be open age Coventry teams and branding to maintain the excellent work. My reservation is the ground. Birmingham Solihull are two clubs that merged and dumped the Portway venue for first team games. It was only easy of access in a car and would be very challenging on any day but especially a Sunday. The union club did an Icarus with good sponsorship deals and moved in with Solihull football before the cash ran out. Last time I visited Portway the club were on a barely roped second team pitch because the stand was unsafe for all but the pigeons. They then fell out of the league structure entirely for a time. The surroundings offer nothing apart from some nice walks. Even if it has been done up the ground would not be of the standard required for the league or to entice fans. Hopefully it is now much better. It is for one year but many of the people I know use public transport and will not attend. There was a noticeable drop in crowds at Broadstreet and Rugby Lions The Alexander stadium in the pictures is not how I know it, but looks impressive but the increase in crowds required to make this look a success is massive. However as I have stated I have great faith in those running the club and with the journey slightly easier for me will certainly be there. We desperately need a successful midlands club and there is no other one that could become it
  5. Westgate Common 40 Upton 6 Thought my season had finished but this caught the eye. Not just me either with about 250 watching. Venue today was Thornes Park, a large public park with a college as a centrepiece and attractive in places to walk. There are two football pitches in a very open area but as 1 was told these are frequently waterlogged and the rugby have developed a pitch higher up but use the same changing rooms. Although plenty of dog and other walkers pass through, there is a feeling of enclosure with threes on three sides. The pitch was roped off, required for a crowd of this size. Upton seems disorganised in the build up with some players arriving close to kick off and I gained the impression a number has simply not showed up leaving them with a bare 14. Despite this they scored first but not again in the game. I have concerns how long the Pennine League and therefore winter rugby will last but the Yorkshire cup has 17 entries and I would recommend this to anyone. Hopefully clubs will update social media and some c.ups have entered this but not the league and I think there will be a number of walkovers. A revisit to Toll Bar is my initial thought
  6. Look we need to stop moving the papers around Whenever there is a big game, I have to keep going into Smiths and moving them back just so everyone can have a turn at this and feed good. Must have gone to Smiths on London Bridge 5 times when Wigan played at Millwall.
  7. As well as watching amateur games, I like to visit those used at a higher level and managed a trip to North Wales Crusaders last week However one ground used was not accessible with the only London games at Rosslyn Park behind closed doors. in any event I wanted to watch the Southern Conference play off final and lo and behold they choose Rosslyn Park as the venue albeit at 6.30pm. On arrival, I realised I had mucked up as Brixton v Medway was just finishing in the lower league final. There was real enthusiasm on and off the pitch and I feel I missed a treat. The main event was London Chargers v West Warriors, either a local derby or possibly Australia v New Zealand although Hammersmith are the main Aussie team Rosslyn Park will be happy with the day especially the beer sales and the crowd of300 to 400 were to put in mildly loud. As a club they were one of those whose results were on the BBC when I first watched the results probably 50 years ago. They are still at a reasonable but not top level.The ground apart from a 4g has probably not changed since with Ivy climbing through the covered terracing and bench seats in the Mai stand leaning at steep angles to match the floor they are attached to West Warriors were always ahead and would have been more so if they had not missed all five conversions, admittedly mostly from the touch line. A final score of Chargers 10 West’s 20. I had to leave to catch a train at the final whilst leaving but more drinking was certainly on the menu for others. hopefully some else can advise the scorers but with no prog and no announcements I cannot. For a game claiming poverty, it is surprising no gate was taken as with pitch hire and a full compliment of referees and assistants this not have been cheap to stage
  8. I went to the game today, enjoying RL at this level, as I was working in Plymouth this week and next. Final score 16 34 to Hammersmith. Personally I think that is a more than acceptable result for the Sharks as the visitors are traditionally as good as any in the south, although being primarily Aussies may have a smaller pool of potential players this year. Match played after a local derby for Newton Abbot RU so hard to guess the crowd but probably 100 stayed on despite nearly one hour gap between fixtures In terms of other clubs in South West the issue is Sharks are an RL club and could play even thought RU is up and running and not her clubs are more than a summer sport for RU players and want a short season Hence Devon playing only friendlies in the last proper season and joining the Southern Conference this year. They therefore have to accept South Wales and Swindon as local Derby’s despite being over 100 miles away. Incidentally only Sharks and Swindon finished the season in the west. I would normally post reports of this type under where did you go in the community forum if anyone is interested in grass root clubs. Be they in Devon or the heartlands are encouragement is most welcome
  9. Todmorden 36 Illingworth 10 Surprise result with the visitors going into the game with 9 wins from 9 and the home team about 50/50. I think this is the first year for Todmorden, although I have a programme from the national cup v Hensingham from 1997. That was played at Castle Vale Park close to the town centre then and early Facebook posts suggested the same but only training was there. Home now is known as Woodhouse, a basic venue, of the type that makes the travelling worthwhile. Leaving the main road to Sowerby Bridge a mile out of town the road crosses the river by a narrow bridge with a mill converted to housing. Going uphill are the changing rooms and at least a quarter of a mile further there is a small car park serving a fishing lake and the pitch. Once inside no buildings are visible just a steep hillside and woodland. The pitch was roped down each side. Expecting an away win it was no surprise when the visitors went 6 nil up but it was 12 10 to the hosts at half time who then dominated the second half. attendance of about 80 Some photos taken on phone and will post if family assist a technophobe
  10. August 7 West Bowling i have a lot of sympathy for the above They wanted to stay playing winter but had to drop a standard and in order to return to the NCL had to give up their ground as it shared with cricket They moved to a local rec which on a nice day was a great place to watch RL sitting on a bench at the top of a steep grass bank. Adjacent to Odsal it may have been less attractive with rain and a northerly wind. Facilities may have been a problem but the decision was made to move to Horsfall stadium, the home of Bradford Park Avenue FC. the ground is poor for their level and the seats need a good clean but it could be argued it is the best ground in the NCL but probably no one favourite with a running track surrounding the pitch There were not many games on today outside the heartlands so I choose this without checking the table but with top of the group playing bottom, the match was never likely to be competitive. There are obviously going to be more mismatches with the structure of local groups but on balance I think that was a sensible idea for this season. However Bowling scored in the second minute and were better throughout. Just Askam if they return and Hensingham for the NCL to visit
  11. Would have been at the Jaguars today had it been on as needed to be local but ended up 120 miles away but managed to drop the wife off at the restaurant with mins to spare As for the book, you need to do something interesting and have a style of writing that makes others want to read and even with a spellchecker think I would fail the second. Will let you know if I do get a match at Droitwich but don’t forget if the. Islands league is still playing Birmingham are at Kings Norton which is in Hopwood and the other Worcester team at Birmingham Solihull
  12. This is my take on what is likely to have happened based on experience of watching at this level for over 10 years. I have no basis to back this up and it is opinion only. It is not difficult to have plans and a few enthusiasts to start an RL club anywhere. It seems now the website is the first step and a few likes are given on here for the website and the enthusiasm Finding and RU club to host is next, again not hard, possibly pitch rental for usually pitch 3, the promise of bar revenue and the possibility of poaching neighbouring clubs players when RU starts help. A few training sessions especially after lockdown and numbers are food, the first game can be a large win to a heavy defeat but either way the players are playing for fun and have not always made a commitment. One heavy defeat and suddenly enthusiasm for a long motorway trip wanes. Travel with 13 and get thrashed and suddenly the numbers are not there. Then the fact we are not football kicks in, there is no pool of older players, 17 year old and those not getting a game elsewhere and it is not possible to get a team out. See my reports above for Invicta Panthers and Skolars A. No shows cause problems for the top teams then, if you have won four for four a team with three defeats and a forfieit won’t travel and suddenly you are playing away games only. Mid July is difficult and August when RU training starts worse. Those clubs still playing therefore arrange play off and I believe the plate is third v fourth. There may be a grand final today or next week. My experience says do the new clubs early and the established one especially up north late. Droitwich RU goes on the missed list again as Chester refused to play against a previous Worcester side because of the state of the pitch 15 to 20 years ago on the previous RU ground As for the last three weeks, I planned to go to Bramley but visitors had Covid, but watched there A team at Leeds Akkies. Decided on Bramley again last week to find they have moved to West Leeds RU a nice ground with some cover so missed Bramley Phoenix RU again. This week another trip to Hull for Hull Wyke v Farnley. Never checked the table but visitors were disappointing. I think that is 13 grounds in Hull and 7 more in East Yorks/ East Riding and only Kingswood at the fairly new Willows ground to go.
  13. July 10 Agreed to drive the eldest son to Sussex to collect a car and the only easily accessible ground was Elmbridge Eagles who are at present unable to use their own ground. That is a very long story which was explained to be by the father of one player. What a club they are, being based just outside London in Esher but as a club having existed for over 30 years and I assume the longest running amateur team in the South East. Trying to confirm the fixture, I found they has three youth teams away at different venues and on arrival discovered a girls match, possibly under 16. Only caught 20 mins but what enthusiasm and some fairly committed tackles. The opposition was London Skolars A but the teams can have little connection. On arrival I found they had 9 and seemed unclear if others were coming. The kick off was put back by 30mins and it was agreed they would play 9 a side until the others arrived. my assumption that were no others was proved wrong when 4 others arrived 10 mins into the claim and a few others later on. With the meet scheduled fir 1.30pm I cant understand how players could be 1 hour 45 to 2 hours late even allowing for a major flower show ar Hampton Court had they come that way, especially as my delay afterwards was only 10 mins. The score was 18 6 after 10mins when the game went to 13 a side and although I am probably not accurate I believe 104 to 10 at the finish. I have seen worse teams than Skolars, who were simply beaten by the impressive pace of the Eagles. Clearly conceding 100 points in a merit league indicates none will be likely to be playing in the championship this year.
  14. Glad to see others posting and hopefully a few others will even if only visiting local clubs. For myself a very local derby with two sides less than a mile apart. I think it is accepted the North East shows real potential and after the success of the Hurricanes last year, a second team has started in Hartlepool. For those that don’t know the town is the hotbed of RU a in the North East, West Hartlepool were in the Premiership when the game went professional and a lack of funds to compete with those with huge backers caused then to first struggle, then sell the ground and now compete in the lower divisions. I am told the town has six clubs. Unusually the RL sides appear to be primarily players almost entirely from the club they are based at. The home team are called Friarage Falcons, the name of the ground where Hartlepool Rovers have played since the 19th century. There is cover a long most of one side and an old rusty stand I had seen from the adjacent railway line has been replaced by a smaller one on the opposite side. There is some terracing on three sides Hurricanes have had the better start to the season and had won the earlier match on their ground but Falcons were always in control scoring 10 tries to 3 and winning 54 18 What was noticeable yesterday was that the early season enthusiasm seems to have finished and my first four choices of game, all in the heartlands were cancelled and whilst Covid may be a factor, the difficulty of confirming fixtures is back and could be a serious concern when RU training starts again
  15. June 26 Hull Bilton Bears 0 Hull Dockers A 80 It’s good to be watching up north again. There is just a difference in the nature of the game when played by those brought up on it. I was late in discovering the local league in Hull and have only seen a few at home with wonderful venues like the Graveyard and Orchard Park surrounded by flats and wish I had seen more the now not used pitches. The Hull and District League appears to have folded and the Yorkshire Men’s has had the sense to put most Hull teams together in Div 5 East. That may result in some mismatches but it is better than forcing teams at this level to travel to Halifax, Bradford etc. Bilton went into the game with a nil five win lose ratio and with a heavy home defeat in one of the division 5 could be argued to be the worst rated league side. They are however categorically not and would have competed and probably won against a couple I have watched this year. They also managed to get an A team out earlier in the day and look a good club all round apart from results. I last saw Bilton at Eastmount, a large open space with sometimes more than one game at once, but they have back to the village this season but apart from the fact this is East Yorks not Hull nothing looked different and the village can only be described as very dull. The ground is behind the village hall and was roped in each side. I have seen clubs share with football, union, cricket, cycling and probably other sports but behind the posts is the venue for axe, knife and tomahawk throwing. Thankfully they were not using the venue today and the pitches do not overlap. Dockers were simply stronger especially a tall number 10 who could run through the Bilton defenders with relative ease and scoped a few tries. One disadvantage of groundhopping is you fail to recognise players. He would have shared man of the match with the referee, I am told only 18 and able to be almost invisible as the best refs are. Clearly a one sided game with Bolton down to 10 at the end but they did no works with 10 than 13 and are a much better side than the result suggests
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