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The sport is not turning 13, 14,15 year olds away in any region or league as far as I am aware. The "opportunity" as you put it is a result of those players within RU being targeted by clubs who see it as the easiest way of getting a team out on the pitch with little consideration and perhaps understanding of the bigger "development" picture.

Just my opinion.

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The sport is not turning 13, 14,15 year olds away in any region or league as far as I am aware. The "opportunity" as you put it is a result of those players within RU being targeted by clubs who see it as the easiest way of getting a team out on the pitch with little consideration and perhaps understanding of the bigger "development" picture.

Just my opinion.

 

Yes. an opinion.

 

And a very clear representation of the negativity often shown from some within RL to those who are working their backside off to grow the sport in areas outside the traditional areas of the game.

 

Today, the top 4 divisions of the NW league were played between two teams from Widnes, three form St Helens, and three teams from (the Borough) of Wigan.

 

Hardly representative of the 'North West'.  

 

Thank goodness for Chester and Manchester Rangers in Div 4!!!!

 

the game NEEDS to grow.  and the game needs to support those trying to do it - they are the greatest ambassadors for our sport, they are fantastic advocates for a sport, and they have a very hard task before them and they choose to take it on. 

 

It's no disrespect to those in the traditional heartland of the game - todays games were great - but 120yrs since the games birth, our sport is played in the same towns as the founder members and few others more...

 

...it's quite a sad state of affairs.

 

Time to change.


In Bury or North Manchester? Interested in Rugby League? Check out the Rugby League in Bury web-site: http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/burybroncos/

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A player of an RU background is growing rugby league by playing rugby league and if the sport has any ambition to grow outside it's traditional areas it must actively provide flexibility for new people to join the game. Any hard a fast criteria as suggested severely impacts on development.

 

Specific case study:

 

3 years ago NWC Youth insisted Bury Broncos commit to a full season, and register a minimum number of players ready for March for a NEW U16 team.

 

we asked for a months grace - we had 1 (yes, ONE) rugby league player. we had a bunch of novices who'd been part of a schools comp the year before, and we had 6/7 RU lads. All were training on a Monday avoiding the clash with the RU training on other nights.

 

Eventually, NW Youth relented on the initial ask after we rang round the clubs who would have been our early season fixtures to explain our situation. As it happened, quite a few of the clubs in question were in the same position (e.g. Blackpool, Heysham) and were very welcoming to what we were doing.

 

The side conceded the first few games, then played a few games with 9, then 10, then 11 players - each game was a loss but momentum was being built up.

 

The RU season finished and we had 13 every week, and up to 20 occasionally.  The side went on to play week, week out - we played local sides in Rochdale mid-week, and we made sure we finished in August so not to interfere with the RU seasons tarting in September. That side won 13 of 17 games and the Bury RU coach actually sent players down to try RL because we worked with, not against the, and had the common objective of getting more lads playing rugby. As a result, Rugby League had 20+ new participants...we also had some new contacts that we could use in years ahead. 

 

Most of the lads were actually U15 qualified at the time.

 

The older lads progressed to be U18s with a few additions who had actually been RU lads playing open age as 16year olds.  They won their U18 division, completing full season, and were unbeaten. One lad joined Salford's scholarship having only ever playing RU before.  The rest of the lads formed a U16 team for another year joined by some younger lads from RU again. So the 20 new players became 30 or so...

 

A number of those lads were part of the Broncos open age teams this year - alongside a lot of other RU converts. Bury fielded two open age sides weekly even when the RU season was going and added a third team when the RU season ended.  The son of the Bury RU chairman now commits to RL fixtures ahead of any RU fixtures...

 

In 2014, Bury ran a U14s side. Putting it simply - it was the Bury RU side as their coach approached us + a few stragglers from when we had school comps. Every player was a new participant to RL...the coach was a new participant too as he played open age.

 

In a town of 177,000 people, a history dominated by football, and two strong RU clubs and a 'start-up' RL effort with no ground, few coaches (because no-one locally has any experience) and no contacts, every single every contact with RL matters and flexibility should be offered. There are huge opportunities for RU lads coming to RL - we have seen the latter happen in Bury...as a sport we need the confidence in our product and not a parochialism to 'defend' the way we've always done things.

 

Up top I just said IF the sport wants to grow. of course, it might be happy as it is.

 

You should be running The Rugby Football League in lieu of the t*****s we have now


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Yes. an opinion.

And a very clear representation of the negativity often shown from some within RL to those who are working their backside off to grow the sport in areas outside the traditional areas of the game.

Today, the top 4 divisions of the NW league were played between two teams from Widnes, three form St Helens, and three teams from (the Borough) of Wigan.

Hardly representative of the 'North West'.

Thank goodness for Chester and Manchester Rangers in Div 4!!!!

the game NEEDS to grow. and the game needs to support those trying to do it - they are the greatest ambassadors for our sport, they are fantastic advocates for a sport, and they have a very hard task before them and they choose to take it on.

It's no disrespect to those in the traditional heartland of the game - todays games were great - but 120yrs since the games birth, our sport is played in the same towns as the founder members and few others more...

...it's quite a sad state of affairs.

Time to change.

It's fact, not negativity.

Would you be able to expand on what your club and clubs in a similar position would do without RU players and what strategies are used to attract new players to the sport from U13's upwards that are not playing RU in your area?

Also what success have those strategies had as opposed to the one that targets RU players?

Nobody is in any doubt that the game needs to grow but attempting to do that by focusing heavily on players that already have an allegiance to an alternative code is a flawed model, something which has been evidenced consistently for the last few seasons.

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It's fact, not negativity.

Would you be able to expand on what your club and clubs in a similar position would do without RU players and what strategies are used to attract new players to the sport from U13's upwards that are not playing RU in your area?

Also what success have those strategies had as opposed to the one that targets RU players?

Nobody is in any doubt that the game needs to grow but attempting to do that by focusing heavily on players that already have an allegiance to an alternative code is a flawed model, something which has been evidenced consistently for the last few seasons.

 

 

Very happy to expand on the strategies - your 'fact' is that it was to attract RU lads, so I'll explain how utterly wrong that statement is.

 

January/February 2012 - started to think of ways of getting some junior sides started - already got the youngest groups off the ground, cubs group had operated over winter ready for spring, and open age was going well.

 

Decided best strategy (you wanted a strategy didn't you?) was to run an Easter rugby tournament for schools.  Approached school to see if it could be staged at Philips High (where we train and play matches) so that we could literally show kids where we were based...

 

Schools contacted - some effort put in to do some after-school clubs where we could. 

 

Easter 2012, schools rugby tournament attended by 6 schools - attended by over 60 kids from Yr 7 and 8

 

A few days later, a similar tournament for Yrs 9 and 10, another 60 or so kids.

 

Every kid talked to by volunteers who had taken time off from their day jobs to come down and encourage kids to try rugby league.  Every kid given a pre-designed flyer encouraging them to join what we branded as a the 'Bury Broncos RL Academy'. Every kid told that we'd have training every Thursday from the week after...

 

...we didn't know if any would turn up to train, but that's a risk you take. Luckily, a good few lads did show - mainly novices, some from other sports, and some from RU too.

 

We of course, couldn't join a league as we didn't know what we had and the league was underway and the reality was - these are newbies to rugby league so there is a duty of care requirement to make sure they've got some idea what they are doing before putting them into a game scenario. 

 

So to give them that introduction we had training every Thurs over the summer and we played 3 matches at each of U15s and U13s against Accrington in June and July.  We lost every game but at least the lads were getting a bit of experience and we could test whether there was enough there to have a go at turning them into a team the year after... 

We bought each team a kit so they had an identify with the club...a bit of a risk as the kit of course might not ever get used.

 

...and we kept the details of every kid who came to any of the training sessions.

 

The reality is you need volunteers to be able to get a side going and we were struggling given the lack of rugby league experience locally - and you definitely need someone to coach!  So we text all the kids to see if parents interested and little luck which wasn't too much of a surprise given there's little RL presence in the area. One parent did come back though saying he'd 'help' if we could find a coach and then in November/December 2012, I sat down with an open age player who said he'd coach, and the parent who'd shown interest.  

 

We decided to go for it - even though we had ONE known player (the son of the parent) and no idea if it might work. 

 

Spring 2013, the 'debate' with NWC began about entering a U16 team (i.e. what we could pull together from the U10s, U9s the year before).  We were told we couldn't join as we had no registered players - we pointed out we'd had a group the year before and our strategy was to reconvene it and grow it. There was back and forth for weeks but eventually we were given fixtures.

 

In short, we were ringing round the lads from the efforts the year before to see if they'd be keen. We created them a Facebook group etc. too to try and get them self-organising which actually really helped. It was clear we had a dozen or so, the hope was we could start-up and get a bit of momentum so more might come...

 

But as already said in this thread, we're talking about a bunch of novices, ONE rugby league player - hence, we played the first few games with 9, then 10, then 11 lads - with barely any rugby experience between the lot of them. All the games were lost - some by a very heavy score-lines.  There were footballers, a kid who was very into his athletics, and some lads who didn't really play sport.  The simple reality is you cannot turn a bunch of novices at rugby into a capable team without some rugby knowledge so yes - in a town with two rugby union clubs, we were happy when a few of them came down.

 

So, it wasn't a strategy to attract RU lads, its just a no-brainer that when they come along, you welcome them with open arms. The six/seven who joined really made a difference and there is nothing wrong with that.  

 

So, the majority of the team came from outside rugby - because again, as already said in this thread it's a town where soccer dominates - that is the target market to aim at as there are literally 1,000s of youngsters without summer commitments.

 

On a previous occasion you've spoken on threads and criticised clubs for being 'reliant' on RU without any knowledge of the club involved and efforts they go to to grow the game.  As pointed out to you before - Bury Broncos field two adult teams - even when the RU season is running - and is able to field a THIRD team when the RU season is finished.  The club includes 100% converts to RL - they are RL players as much as anyone else taking to the field - in the same way soccer players are when they come along and join-in.  To be blunt - if you've no idea what your talking about, don't comment, and certainly do not refer to your mis-conceptions as 'fact'.


In Bury or North Manchester? Interested in Rugby League? Check out the Rugby League in Bury web-site: http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/burybroncos/

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Going back to the original thread...

 

Merits leagues would very much help the model above.  In the summer of 2012 we could have tried turning both the U15s and U13s into teams into merit league teams and progressed them year on year.

 

It's the fact that such an option isn't available that drives start-up sides to have to (over)commit to formal leagues.  You can see from the example above the run-in period and level of effort and planning required just to get a side off the ground - and all the way through the process there's the chance it fails.  The game needs to grow and needs to facilitate that growth.

 

If you're considering launching merit leagues - they'll need announcing asap so that enough people can plan for them. The model above took 15 months to get to the position of being able to join a formal league but even if joining a merit league it would have taken close to 6 months. 


In Bury or North Manchester? Interested in Rugby League? Check out the Rugby League in Bury web-site: http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/burybroncos/

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So back to the original point our season now starts in March ,how many clubs now have players playing Union and won't have squads ready to start the new season ?

That's our problem how can we issue competitive fixtures appoint referees etc etc if we do not know what we have , we need to know January at the latest to put our fixture matrix together it's not a two minute Job .

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MMP having read your responses on strategy it raises the question why you would target age groups (U13's upwards) where historically the participation trend, for a multitude of reasons, is to plateau and then drop off.

 

You are also attempting to compete with established clubs at those age groups in a competitive environment.

 

As a contrast this years registration figures in the NWC at the U7's age group have been record breaking and are almost through the 1,000 barrier at that age group alone.

 

From a playing perspective the reality of running teams in a competitive divisional structure requires a solid/stable registration base of approximately 18-20 as a minimum, something you have highlighted within your strategy as being extremely difficult to achieve due to circumstances and playing criteria at that level.

 

Conversely at the U7's, U8's, U9's etc age groups you initially would only need 10-12 registrations.

 

I note that you mention no links with any professional club's community foundation, a regular schools programme or initiatives such as Embed the Pathway?

 

18 months ago after several discussions with the local council we agreed with their assistance to put together a RL pilot programme for local schools.Throughout the course of the last 12 months we piloted the inclusive schools programme for both boys and girls in year 5 that was delivered in cirriculum time across 12 primary schools over 48 sessions in total (4 sessions to each school) and culminated in festival at the club. As a result we saw an influx of children (Double figures) in that one age group alone all of whom had never played, or in some instances, even heard of RL and very few of which played sport externally of school. In fact it has resulted in the club restarting it girls section as well as increasing the playing numbers at the age group.

 

The local schools and council are now wanting the programme to run again this academic year, but they want to increase the amount of schools involved and include years 4, 5 and 6.

 

Obviously the logistics of this type of approach (Schools initiative) need to be considered but it is achieveable and in the long term provides a much more stable base to move forward from and helps to establish concurrent age groups in the most important bracket at club level, which is Cubs through to U12's. 

Edited by LordCharles

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MMP having read your responses on strategy it raises the question why you would target age groups (U13's upwards) where historically the participation trend, for a multitude of reasons, is to plateau and then drop off.

 

You are also attempting to compete with established clubs at those age groups in a competitive environment.

 

As a contrast this years registration figures in the NWC at the U7's age group have been record breaking and are almost through the 1,000 barrier at that age group alone.

 

From a playing perspective the reality of running teams in a competitive divisional structure requires a solid/stable registration base of approximately 18-20 as a minimum, something you have highlighted within your strategy as being extremely difficult to achieve due to circumstances and playing criteria at that level.

 

Conversely at the U7's, U8's, U9's etc age groups you initially would only need 10-12 registrations.

 

 

As said, this was additional to setting up the little ones at more junior age groups.


In Bury or North Manchester? Interested in Rugby League? Check out the Rugby League in Bury web-site: http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/burybroncos/

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I note that you mention no links with any professional club's community foundation, a regular schools programme or initiatives such as Embed the Pathway?

 

 

 

Community foundations exist where there are pro clubs, so it's harder to get support from one if outside a pro-club area + the support has to be of use. As it happens, at the particular point in time the structures designated Bury an area for Swinton to operate in. Of course, we're talking about the time when the then owners were running into financial difficulties.

 

A schools programme needs capacity (cash) which wasn't around. though taking some time off work we had 13 aside matches between 2 schools as one went on to qualify for Champion Schools. 


In Bury or North Manchester? Interested in Rugby League? Check out the Rugby League in Bury web-site: http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/burybroncos/

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18 months ago after several discussions with the local council we agreed with their assistance to put together a RL pilot programme for local schools.Throughout the course of the last 12 months we piloted the inclusive schools programme for both boys and girls in year 5 that was delivered in cirriculum time across 12 primary schools over 48 sessions in total (4 sessions to each school) and culminated in festival at the club. As a result we saw an influx of children (Double figures) in that one age group alone all of whom had never played, or in some instances, even heard of RL and very few of which played sport externally of school. In fact it has resulted in the club restarting it girls section as well as increasing the playing numbers at the age group.

 

The local schools and council are now wanting the programme to run again this academic year, but they want to increase the amount of schools involved and include years 4, 5 and 6.

 

Obviously the logistics of this type of approach (Schools initiative) need to be considered but it is achieveable and in the long term provides a much more stable base to move forward from and helps to establish concurrent age groups in the most important bracket at club level, which is Cubs through to U12's. 

 

That's the same model as used for those U16s.  In school activities, generates interest in a festival, target those at a festival to form a team...at the time, we'd done the same at younger age groups (funded by Lottery), so the order age groups made sense.

 

but is needs cash as you need people in school in curriculum time and that needs paying for.  Bury Council certainly do not prioritise rugby league (i really haven't the time to go through the issues there since 2008) although they fund little bits of capital projects (up to £1000) which is some help. 

 

But it all comes back to local circumstances. sweeping statements made about 'development area clubs' by someone not knowing their circumstances dismisses the complexities and difficulties being faced. I'll keep saying it - we need to be flexible as possible so that the difficulties being faced can be responded to...


In Bury or North Manchester? Interested in Rugby League? Check out the Rugby League in Bury web-site: http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/burybroncos/

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From a playing perspective the reality of running teams in a competitive divisional structure requires a solid/stable registration base of approximately 18-20 as a minimum, something you have highlighted within your strategy as being extremely difficult to achieve due to circumstances and playing criteria at that level.

 

 

 

 

 

 

so you agree, the structures the sport chooses to have inhibits new teams forming?

 

my view would be modify the criteria to help new terms form!!!  if thats via a merit league, then so be it.


In Bury or North Manchester? Interested in Rugby League? Check out the Rugby League in Bury web-site: http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/burybroncos/

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Would that be South Trafford Raiders? The same South Trafford Raiders that were involved in this years NWC Competition at U13's, were accomodated into the league in late June, played 4 fixtures then folded due to all their players going back to RU and at no point then or since have officially notified the league of their intention to withdraw and duly conceded all of their remaining fixtures?

 

Bury Broncos 13's entered the league at the start of the season and were allocated fixtures yet never fulfilled a single one, Wrexham Bradley Raiders and North Trafford Titans did the same, as a consequence you can imagine the impact that had on the rest of the teams and their fixtures in the division.

 

So whilst its ok to continually bang the drum of developing the game in new areas via a methodology that revolves around enticing RU players into said clubs, we have to apply some reality to the issues created as a result of such a strategy and if indeed it really is best practice.

 

Merit leagues I believe are a viable option and are a necessary requirement if the all to frequent instances such as the ones above are going to be the ultimate outcome of such a cast iron developmental approach to Junior RL in what can in some instances be described as RU/Football monopolised areas.

 

The example I have used in relation to South Trafford U13's above is unfortunately only one of a growing number that we have seen occur throughout the age groups this season.

Yes this is the same Trafford Raiders.

A club two years ago that had seven at training. And last season hit a high point of seventy.

For the record when I pull the u14 team from the last three games (the Aug break is a killer) I informed the league in the league communication that was for both teams. This obviously wasn't sufficient and I apologise for that. However, when I thanked the league for their help with the 14s i informed them that the 13s - in their first season - could not go on. They should not have been in the league With hindsight.

A merit league will be a huge success for our new u12s and u13s. The 14s are established and can probably run the full season. Interesting that we had several teams fold games against us or request we move fixture as no players. I tried to play games mid week but only Blackpool would accommodate.

I've obviously got to learn the politics of this league, seems simply trying to promote TGG in an outpost region is not good enough for some. I need people trying to help not score points.

The u14 have achieved a huge amount. We won the Blackpool 9s. We had our first presentation evening last week and 120 paid to attend. I ran the team almost single handed. Now I have more parents involved and we can grow.

It's also most like people want us to fail - must an RL thing - I'll keep going until it's too hard or too much trouble. The heartland can then be smug and say they were right.

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Yes this is the same Trafford Raiders.

A club two years ago that had seven at training. And last season hit a high point of seventy.

For the record when I pull the u14 team from the last three games (the Aug break is a killer) I informed the league in the league communication that was for both teams. This obviously wasn't sufficient and I apologise for that. However, when I thanked the league for their help with the 14s i informed them that the 13s - in their first season - could not go on. They should not have been in the league With hindsight.

A merit league will be a huge success for our new u12s and u13s. The 14s are established and can probably run the full season. Interesting that we had several teams fold games against us or request we move fixture as no players. I tried to play games mid week but only Blackpool would accommodate.

I've obviously got to learn the politics of this league, seems simply trying to promote TGG in an outpost region is not good enough for some. I need people trying to help not score points.

The u14 have achieved a huge amount. We won the Blackpool 9s. We had our first presentation evening last week and 120 paid to attend. I ran the team almost single handed. Now I have more parents involved and we can grow.

It's also most like people want us to fail - must an RL thing - I'll keep going until it's too hard or too much trouble. The heartland can then be smug and say they were right.

Keep on fighting for it, sounds like you're doing great work.

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