Jump to content
Total Rugby League Fans Forum
Sign in to follow this  
Roy Haggerty

London Skolars - what's going on ?

Recommended Posts

Pretty much at the season's halfway point in the London Premier League, and the biggest single issue is the unreliability of Skolars. SW London are again the team to beat, Wests can put out a very strong side, although they're patchy, Hammersmith are good at home but vulnerable away, Easts, Medway and Beckenham are reliable, solid outfits who perhaps don't have the flair to compete with the three above, but certainly aren't disgraced in the top flight.

 

Then there's Skolars. On the face of it, the side which is attached to one of London's two professional clubs should have all the makings of a strong contender. Apart from their ability to use players with semi-pro experience, they are now the oldest continual team in London by some distance, having been established more than twenty years ago. They should have (must have) a database of past and current players running into hundreds. Yet this year has been a shambles for the Skolars. They've conceded more fixtures than they've played, and their travel record is so bad that it's approaching a Bye to have a home fixture against Skolars. This is a real shame, as they have the quality of player, in theory, to offer a serious challenge to the top end of the league. Their one win was a very solid display against a decent Wests side (at home, naturally), and even today, when only 9 Skolars showed up at Medway, those players were of sufficient quality that if they'd fielded a full team, then Medway would have been sorely pressed. As it was, Medway very kindly loaned Skolars some players so that a 13-a-side game could go ahead, and the inevitable result was a fairly one-sided scoreline.

 

It was a bad year for London Rugby League when both the Skolars oldest rivals, South London and West London, folded. On the basis of this season, there has to be a risk that North London's representatives are about to follow.

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bears pulled out of their game against the Rhinos this weekend as they could not raise a side and did not feel their second team players where good enough to step in and fill the gaps. 

 

I feel sorry for our lads as they have to travel across London every other week for a game and I cannot remember the last time we did not fulfil a fixture, yet we have already lost three home games this season. Some of these teams step up a division in playing standard without realising it also requires a step up in commitment from club and players. At times we have travelled  with U16/U17  players as replacements knowing we risk a big loss yet some other teams seem happy to  take the 24-0 hit rather than travel and risk heavier defeat.

 

It does not help player recruitment and retention, and in particular player match fitness  when  these called off games create big gaps in a short season. At Medway we totally dominated the first half but struggled with fitness in the second but it was not surprising when you consider by next weeks game they will only played 1 weekend out of five.

Edited by Cooky Boy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No-shows are indeed a killer. 24-0, by the way, is far too lenient for a no-show, given that plenty of actual played games have bigger scores than that. In fact, that gives a disincentive to clubs to travel, because they know if they cry off, they lose 24-0, whereas if they travel with a much-weakened side, they risk a 50-point difference. Personally, I'd like to see a no-show as a league table points deduction, and if that means some frequent offenders end the season in negative figures, then so be it. Or move to a system where it's 3 points for a win, 2 for a draw and 1 point for a loss in which the team actually showed up.

 

I know travelling is always an issue in the London League (there are very few games without a journey of at least 90-120 minutes in each direction), but players need to make that commitment, as nothing kills off clubs faster than not getting regular games. I'm very surprised at the Bears crying off, as each time I've seen them this season they've seemed to have plenty of players, and it was a very close match against Eastern Rhinos at their place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That was Bears 2nd cry off and under the new London Mens League rules will receive a 2 point deduction (for the 2nd and each subsiquent cry off by a team they will incur a -2 point penalty).

Skolars have received -4 points penalty.

The problem with Skolars could be due to the differences in how the two teams are treated. I hear the second team (which is at least half first team squad players) have to play on the grass pitch over the road at home games, get changed in a classroom and not have the use of any showers after games. Not really what you expect from a semi pro club!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To be honest, from the people I've spoken to, I think this season has been badly affected by off the field events as much as on.  Now the league is essentially self-run, which means that the inmates are running the asylum (the RFL will never learn).  Some teams have lost players, some teams don't seem to have a reliable player base, administrators leaving, new coaches, some people clearly have either too much on their plate or not enough ability to handle it.  Do Hammersmith have a regular home ground?  It's all fairly confusing but, sadly, this was always going to be a transitional season because St Albans and Hemel departed, South West London are still way stronger than everybody else and two teams are making a big step up.

 

What is there isn't working but what's new?

 

EDIT:

Bears pulled out of their game against the Rhinos this weekend as they could not raise a side and did not feel their second team players where good enough to step in and fill the gaps.

 

It's not about being good enough, it's about safety.  Sorry, I know one of you is a ref, but you can't ask a referee to guarantee the safety of your players.  Illegal stuff is going to happen, shoulder charges will be missed as well as all sorts of other shenanigans.  It will be missed because the good only have one set of eyes, the bad can't keep up with the game and the ugly seemingly don't know the rules.

 

When you have guys with less than three 2s games or guys returning to the game after many seasons away, it's not fair to put them in with a bunch of experienced players, especially when you consider the environment.  I turn my mind back to two seasons ago, when the Bears had maybe 20 injuries and a further 10 unavailable and turned to scratch players, players who hadn't played in years and keen newbies to fill out sides.  At that time, I remember certain games against experienced or high-level sides feeling less like a rugby match, more like a scrap in a car park.  It wasn't enough to be better, they had to ###### you up too.

 

We had a player sent off for retaliation after he was punched and headbutted on the ground, yet (at that game) six pairs of eyes missed one of our players getting punched at a play-the-ball.  You're a naive side, reacting to cynicism and yet you finish with 12 whilst they get away with everything.  In another game, a complete thug that never seems to get yellow carded put in four straight shoulder charges on four consecutive tackles, none of them were punished despite injuring a player who went to hospital with a concussion.  We discovered last year that If you can stop him, he'll punch you and get away with it.

 

Another time, we had a newbie held in a three-man tackle so a fourth guy could shoulder-charge him.  Another time, after a veteran player sat a youngster down, the kid was standing on the tryline imploring his team-mates to break the guy's hip.  This is just a handful of incidents.  This is the environment and the Bears have tried to ease the noobs into it with seconds games and so forth.  Now, would I claim that everybody is innocent in this?  No, everybody gets involved eventually.  However, the club lost players and thus the game lost interested participants in that first season because some guys on the opposition broke the rules, got away with it and put the safety of their opponents at risk.  I'm not talking unavoidable stuff, I'm talking injury-causing cheap shots.  If you've been around for a while, you can handle yourself but can you ask a guy with no experience to go into that environment?

Edited by bbfaz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem with Skolars could be due to the differences in how the two teams are treated. I hear the second team (which is at least half first team squad players) have to play on the grass pitch over the road at home games, get changed in a classroom and not have the use of any showers after games. Not really what you expect from a semi pro club!

 

Skolars seconds haven't played on the main pitch as long as I can remember. They've been playing on the pitch over the road so long that I actually played on it against them !

 

There's an issue at the moment about a lack of facilities as a result of the sports centre/stadium being redeveloped. However, this would excuse poor attendance at home games, not away ones - you'd think they'd be glad to go away to get a decent shower afterwards....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

EDIT:

 

It's not about being good enough, it's about safety....[snip].   If you've been around for a while, you can handle yourself but can you ask a guy with no experience to go into that environment?

 

Not sure I buy this. A cheap shot or indeed just hard-but-fair tackling can hurt an experienced player just as easily as a complete novice. What you describe sounds like a reason not to play the game at all, rather than a reason not to play inexperienced players. The only place I'd agree with you in terms of a mismatch being a safety issue would be if an amateur side was somehow due to play a pro-side, which won't happen, or if a kids' team was asked to play above its age group, which also wouldn't happen.

 

Injuries/fouls etc can happen in any game - this weekend at Medway, one of the Skolars players who did turn up unfortunately managed to hyper-extend his knee in a completely innocuous tackle, and he was a semi-pro who'd played first team for Skolars. The lad tackling him looked about 18 and half the size. The nature of RL is that such things are always possible. Also, in terms of cynicism and poor sportsmanship, I just don't recognise the level you describe from London RL. There'll always be one or two players who can lose their rag and do something daft, players get the handbags out when they get frustrated, and sledging's as old as time itself. Occasionally such incidents will be missed (or interpreted differently by the two sides and the official), but I experience very little of that in the games I've been involved in this season.

 

I do think that if any club can field even 12 players, even if some of them are relatively inexperienced, then they should keep the match on. In my experience, when a host side realises that the other team are on a hiding to nothing, the aggression levels usually drop a lot, and the game is played in a very friendly manner, simply because the host side realise that the lads who've turned up have at least made the effort to be there, despite the obvious mismatch.

 

Anyway, hopefully the nines will give teams a chance for a mid-season breather next week, and we can get all the games on the following week.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What a load of ######

 

Thank you for your input. Are you saying what I said didn't happen or saying that the reasoning for not playing certain players is wrong?

 

Not sure I buy this. A cheap shot or indeed just hard-but-fair tackling can hurt an experienced player just as easily as a complete novice. What you describe sounds like a reason not to play the game at all, rather than a reason not to play inexperienced players.

 

Indeed it does sound like a reason not to play the game but you see all sorts of shenanigans go on every single week on a pitch in London. Some teams are worse than others, virtually everybody is in denial. Irrespectively, the difference between the top of the Premier and the bottom of the Entry League is very large in terms of experience and ability.

 

Injuries/fouls etc can happen in any game - this weekend at Medway, one of the Skolars players who did turn up unfortunately managed to hyper-extend his knee in a completely innocuous tackle, and he was a semi-pro who'd played first team for Skolars. The lad tackling him looked about 18 and half the size. The nature of RL is that such things are always possible. Also, in terms of cynicism and poor sportsmanship, I just don't recognise the level you describe from London RL. There'll always be one or two players who can lose their rag and do something daft, players get the handbags out when they get frustrated, and sledging's as old as time itself. Occasionally such incidents will be missed (or interpreted differently by the two sides and the official), but I experience very little of that in the games I've been involved in this season.

 

My examples were from two seasons ago and drawn to illustrate the difference between Entry League players, some of whom haven't played before, and top Premier players who may have played for years. I've seen people badly injured from something innocuous and others get up from something fairly hefty too.

 

I do think that if any club can field even 12 players, even if some of them are relatively inexperienced, then they should keep the match on. In my experience, when a host side realises that the other team are on a hiding to nothing, the aggression levels usually drop a lot, and the game is played in a very friendly manner, simply because the host side realise that the lads who've turned up have at least made the effort to be there, despite the obvious mismatch.

 

Disagree on this. 12 vs. 20 with one side lending players to even it off does nobody any favours and seems to ###### players off in my experience.  I was specifically told by players that if the opposition couldn't raise a team, playing would be a waste of time because it makes for a bad match and a bad experience.

 

Anyway, hopefully the nines will give teams a chance for a mid-season breather next week, and we can get all the games on the following week.

If anything, it'll likely get worse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Get yourself to some of the 330 tag Rugby teams reported by the RFL and see if some can be persuaded to full contact, it appears just a hand full of teams playing full contact so just a handful of these to convert may sort the problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know what the answer is to the problems of supporting amateur RL in and around London.  Take this weekend for instance, just wondering which game to go to.

 

Medway v The Bears (Probably not as the Bears don't seem to travel and have cancelled 3 games this season 1H, 2A).

 

Skolars A v Hammersmith (probably not as you can't guarantee Skolars putting a side out  having cancelled four games this season 2H, 2A) or

 

Chgargers v Rhinos - should be a good top of the table clash, but absolute pig to travel to Chargers ground for me. 

 

Probably go to the East RL cup final at Hemel - Bedford v Kings Lynn, as it's easier to get to and guaranteed (if such a thing exists) to be on.

 

Would a joining of the 'best' London teams and the 'best' Eastern teams provide a better league, or would distance/ travel stop this from happening?  Any thoughts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A combined division might be strong enough to attract Northampton and Oxford as well. Tough balance between standards and travel as the east division seems pretty stable whereas London premier is a mess

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think they made a mistake by focusing on their U19 side that don't have a league to play in

 

 

I think they made a mistake by focusing on their U19 side that don't have a league to play in

Why don't the U19's play in a open-age league, I'm sure your aware some Northern based U 19's have in the past


Carlsberg don't do Soldiers, but if they did, they would probably be Brits.

http://www.pitchero....hornemarauders/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Would a joining of the 'best' London teams and the 'best' Eastern teams provide a better league, or would distance/ travel stop this from happening?  Any thoughts.

 

I think that would be a tough ask with the travelling involved.


With the best, thats a good bit of PR, though I would say the Bedford team, theres, like, you know, 13 blokes who can get together at the weekend to have a game together, which doesnt point to expansion of the game. Point, yeah go on!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Eastern Rhinos have always stayed with the London division because of the competitiveness, however, due to cancelled games this weekends game against the  S W Chargers will only be the Eastern Rhinos second competitive game in six weeks. Hardly the preparation needed for such a  game !

 

Our Problem is the traveling would be just as great in the Eastern division but the logistics much harder as we can get cheap rail deals into London but most other clubs treat coming out to Colchester like a mini tour so I doubt whether it would be a popular option for many, but looking at it from a rugby point of view leaving the travel aside  it would make a good size competitive division.

 

Looking at the current top five in the London Division I would be the hardest on Medway, but they seem to an ambitious club with a playing squad with a lot of potential so might go for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Eastern Rhinos have always stayed with the London division because of the competitiveness, however, due to cancelled games, this weekends game against the  S W Chargers will only be the Eastern Rhinos second competitive game in six weeks.

That's not good when it is a top of the table clash.  Although I only went to Colchester once to see the Rhinos play, I have seen them a number of times over the last few years playing 'away', and they always come over as a good, solid team with good foundations. 

Edited by Jasper

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bears have folded.

 

Rhinos narrowly beat Chargers today - I think their first home defeat in 3 years ? Never more than 4 points in it from beginning to end, played in boiling temperatures. Both sides struggled to break through some bruising defence, with Rhinos scoring the winning try just 8 minutes from the end. Consolation for the Chargers was that their second team beat Medway in another close, well-matched game in which the lead changed hands five or six times.

 

It's a shame that the League has been such a porridge this year, as clubs like Eastern Rhinos, Medway and Chargers deserve to be playing guaranteed fixtures every week. I don't know if Skolars v Hammersmith went ahead - I hope it did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bears have folded.

 

It's a shame that the League has been such a porridge this year, as clubs like Eastern Rhinos, Medway and Chargers deserve to be playing guaranteed fixtures every week. I don't know if Skolars v Hammersmith went ahead - I hope it did.

 

Shows how fragile this game of ours can be, sorry to lose The Bears.  Their website shows they had a 1st team, a 2nd team and a ladies team, what a loss.

Anyone know, will their points/games be removed from the league or will their remaining 3 or 4 games be shown as 24 - 0 scorelines? 

Edited by Jasper

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bears have folded.

 

If so, then it's bad news. I heard rumours to that effect a few weeks ago, but now, it seems, it's confirmed.

 

TBH, it doesn't surprise me, as at the start of the year I predicted they wouldn't see the season out.

 

I thought that they should have declined a place in the Premier, where they were always going to struggle, and instead remain in the tier below and be more competitive thus helping them consolidate and build.

 

The move to Wallington RFC wasn't, IMHO, the wisest, though I don't know the ins and outs of the decision to relocate there. It made it the third ground in three years, which if the history of RL in London tells us anything, clubs that groundhop don't, generally, last too long. For sure, the facilities at Wallington are first class, though it's pretty out of the way and not well-served by public transport. I attended their opening home game vs Rhinos and it was well attended, and it appeared that plenty of their players were from the host club. Could it be that they simply saw it as an opportunity to play a couple of games at home, fill the bar, then move on when union's pre-season training started.

 

Last year they played out of Croydon RFC and earlier this season the Hurricanes were contacted by some of the Bears former players asking about joining us. Maybe the Bears didn't take some of the players with them.

 

There are some good people involved with the Bears and I hope that they can re-launch next season.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another no show yesterday by Skolars A at Chargers. They were due to play following the London and South E cup final at Chargers

Old Blues venue. The home side were left warming up but thats as far as it got. Still it was not a wasted journey as was a keenly fought 

Cup Final with Weald Warriors defeating Newham Dockers  32-16.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another no show yesterday by Skolars A at Chargers...... The home side were left warming up but thats as far as it got.

 

Poor old Wests, their season could be over now, they are down to play Skolars (at home) next week and Bears (at home) the week after.  According to London RL website, they have only played four home games this season.

 

I wonder what can be done for this league for next season?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...