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Defender1

Can the Future of Open Age RL be Sustained?

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Looking at some information from this weekend I would ask, the way the game is going are there going to be enough players to keep the game going at Open Age level?

 

Including Professional (Including SL) Semi Pro and Amateur there were 108 matches (Results) at Open Age in RLE, this was broken down

 

Total Results 108 weekend of 22/23/24 July

Pro and Semi            19        17% of the games

NCL and SC              25        23%

NWM                         21        19%

Cumbria                    10          9%

YML                          16        15%

Regional                   17        16%

(Regional is London, SW, Midlands, East, NE etc.)

 

The Professional and NCL are the pinnacle of the game

 

Professional

Yorkshire         16 Clubs        42%

Lancashire        9 Clubs        24%

Cumbria            3                    8%

Regional         10                    26%

 

NCL

Yorkshire        25 Clubs        52%

Lancashire     17                    35%

Cumbria           5                    10%

Regional          1                      2%   

 

108 matches if all teams had 17 players gives approximately 3700 players (There were also a few Academy U19 games I have not included) this includes Professional players this is at the height of the season, did I see a figure that 2% of players make Super League meaning less than 100 to share with 14 clubs. We have 10 semi-professional clubs outside the heartlands who are taking players from amateur clubs leaving them short, the balance is not right.

 

            The under 17-18 leagues are virtually non-existent with most of these players playing Open Age some would argue too young in most cases, without these more games would be postponed, the good idea of Entry leagues for all those surplus players to give a run out with 1-2 fixtures a week.

 

            I know more players are registered meaning greater numbers but I know of a top NCL club who had nearly 90 OA players registered, 30+ were de-registered still leaving nearly 60 players and they still struggled to put out 2 open age teams every week and don’t have an U17 or 18 team, these players are playing OA

 

The recent Sports England participation figures showed there were not enough players who are 26 years and older playing the game to register to include in their figures.

            When you have less numbers even though the cream rises to the top you have less cream, I would say the quality of the game is worse will it get worse if this trend continues?

 

As has been said on this forum many times the game is struggling but this appears to be ignored, as people have said are we reaching the tipping point of no return, have we passed it? The game has been allowed to reach this stage by the people who are supposed to be running the game not the hard working volunteers who do the best for their clubs

 

I write this to appeal to the powers that be “Do Something” to save this great game, we have been here over 100 years how long will we survive if things are not addressed? 

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We warned the romantic move to Summer rugby would be detrimental to the game , all the experts who jumped on the bandwagon poured scorn on us mere mortals .

How ironic it is that we now face the biggest challenge of all saving the game as we know it .

Who at the top who instigated this ill fated pie in the sky project is going to be man enough to say they got it wrong ?

I belive from within the RFL the big fella was against the whole game move to summer so who is going to be strong or brave enough to put the playing season back on the table for proper open honest debate ?

Edited by TaxiEgg

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We warned the romantic move to Summer rugby would be detrimental to the game , all the experts who jumped on the bandwagon poured scorn on us mere mortals .

How ironic it is that we now face the biggest challenge of all saving the game as we know it .

Who at the top who instigated this ill fated pie in the sky project is going to be man enough to say they got it wrong ?

I belive from within the RFL the big fella was against the whole game move to summer so who is going to be strong or brave enough to put the playing season back on the table for proper open honest debate ?

As usual Taxi good honest comments, I deliberately did not mention the playing season as posters have said they are not coming on the forum because everything reverts to the playing season BUT!!

Personnally the traditional season was in decline but the change of seasons has made it worse I don't think one thing that the RFL thought would benifit the game has happened, putting your head in the sand will not resolve the decline

Looking at the figures IMO it looks like

Regional

I do not want to seem insular but the amateur game is not strong enough to lose players to the semi pro game. The academy system is virtually non existent and they seem to rely on university, RU players plus the odd northern amateur player

Yorkshire

There may be too many Professional teams taking players into their academy's as can be seen in the dramatic drop off of the 17-18 age group, how many come back to the game when they are deemed not good enough to get a contract (2%?)

Lancashire

Less professional clubs and usually more 17-18 year old playing in their leagues (Not many more) Is it that the fact there are less professional clubs they take less players out of the game but are usually doing well on the field as they do take the better player from a bigger pool

Cumbria

Funny the majority of the Cumbria clubs are in the premier NCL division but the game is struggling in Cumbria and this is shown by the performance of their 3 professional clubs, as the pro club is struggling do the players elect to play for their amateur club

Possible regional academy's meaning less players with a draft system could mean less players are taken out of the game, this could help

Edited by Defender1

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To reverse the decay we need to find and play the amateur season when young men aren't going on holiday, to concerts, to a summer fete, community sports days and when most have their bachelor weekends and weddings. (Any suggestions to Rugby Football League Red Hall Red Hall Lane Leeds LS17 8NB)

 

Since the amateur switch to summer,  RU Clubs seem to have had an injection of players, can anyone say why ?


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

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

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The biggest problem we have there are too many community leagues follow the party line and do not have the strength of conviction to stand up for what they belive in .

We can make a difference watch this space .

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Another RFL/WINTER RUGBY thread.

To reverse the decay we need a system where lads at 14-16 aren't lost to the game by a scholarship system which takes more than it needs and makes the ones discarded or left behind feel worthless fall out of love with the game.


Thank you for your valuable contribution.

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Another RFL/WINTER RUGBY thread.

To reverse the decay we need a system where lads at 14-16 aren't lost to the game by a scholarship system which takes more than it needs and makes the ones discarded or left behind feel worthless fall out of love with the game.

 

There we go winter again the thread is about the game, please say if you think things are better? I mention the academy's and that is a problem I will totally agree the fact is we are in a worse situation than we were not better as the RFL thought, the issue is year on year it is getting worse but the RFL will not admit it in public, in private they do

 

Hull and Rovers merged their academy's not because of the amateur game but because there were not enough quality lads coming through the system and were not prepared to pay lads who will never make a player FACT from the horses mouth, Jamie Peacock has said there are only enough players to support 4 amateur clubs in Hull, what about the rest of them?

 

Celtic is right the game peaked in the 80's in Hull 4 divisions on a Saturday 2 on a Sunday at open age and plenty playing in the Yorkshire Combination, pub teams yes but a tick in the box for participation why did we not kick on

 

Well if you are involved with a Junior club you now have six weeks to put plenty of thought behind a solution, then a month and then another 5 months before the start of next season I hope you can think of a solution before it is too late

Edited by Defender1

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As someone said in another thread, this isn't the 80's and people today have a broader view of the world. It doesn't begin and end with the local rugby club (although it would be good if it did). There are so many outside factors that influence people today and to pin the lack of players on two factors is just wrong (although a convenient stick that many posters on here use). Believe me, if I had a solution I'd offer it.

My RFL/WINTER response was to the poster that always brings it up, yet fails themselves to offer viable solutions apart from the usual "bash the RFL bring back winter rugby"reply.

In my opinion we'd still have a shortage of players no matter when the season is held.

As for me having time for a solution, do you have one?

Edited by terrywebbisgod

Thank you for your valuable contribution.

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The outside influences are a factor but also an excuse please log onto Sports England Participation to see the results, why are there over 30 other sports doing better than RL, why have the RFL not shouted from the rooftops like they did last year when we showed a slight increase? The NWC have increased their participation at the younger age groups and this was standing up and going against the new primary concept, where are the figures for the rest of the areas? Don't forget switch to increase participation, revenue, standards, new clubs you will have that many players you won't know what to do with them (David Gent) where is he?

IMO the 4 seasons has been a disaster, we should have tried the below then taken the full game as it is now if this did not work it is the same players in the main playing both seasons. We have played winter and summer and are doing again this season we have had no new players except the few that came through our youth and have a university on our doorstep our ground is owned by the university

Start September, play till December making use of the better weather, have a break and start March till mid May during this time play league fixtures and York, Lanc, Cumbria cups end of season mid week to finish the season now light nights. During the break National Cups and tri nation hype it up as Origin like the NW have done for all age groups even invite the regions weather may be a problem but these fixtures would be played on the better grounds and because of the revenue for the clubs an effort would be made to get them on, play the next rounds on bank holidays when the rest of the game has a break, funny this is an idea now put forward by the YJ as they realise what they argued for and bullied clubs to changing is not working, they say it is not going back to winter so call it what you want" The RL playing Season that works for all" would be a start

In the off season about 10 weeks run the u16/19 and reserves for the professional game this would work for them, holiday period yes but if players think they will get a contract them and their parents will make the effort, this will have less impact on the amateur game even playing mid week under lights would still allow players to play for their clubs because of the 2-3 day rule

I think spreading the game has not worked, a few RU players running around in their off season is good for participation figures but has it made the game stronger overall, we have made the RU clubs stronger by giving them revenue, new skills and keeping their players fitter and stronger during their off season. The semi pro clubs outside the heartlands has not really worked with them on a par with the top amateur clubs you saw this with the challenge cup results this at the demise of clubs like Lock Lane and Hewarth to name a couple we lost 3 to Gateshead 2 are not playing at all the other has come back to us. Who is funding them on crowds of 1-300 on good days, teaching kids in schools in Cornwall is great for the press but think there are a couple of teams playing in the RU off season, I have a lot of respect for the people trying to promote the game outside the heartlands, what happened in Scotland there were half a dozen teams and most of these leagues have played in the summer in recent years, why go to Serbia, Malta etc when the game is struggling at home it makes us look like a world wide sport when we are not. I may seem insular but like Breckit lets get things right at home then concentrate on the rest of the world even these tours were only available to people only playing in certain leagues.

Edited by Defender1

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If that was pointed in my direction Terry then you are way off the mark .

As a volunteer administrator who's work load has increased ten fold with all the changes imposed by the RFL more than qualifies me to have an opinion wether you agree or not .

We proposed a viable option based on proven sustainability and a model that worked .

I won't bore people by going over old ground in detail but it was a playing season aligned to the academic school year with a break .

And it worked did we give it a go across the game no we were taken along a romantic journey of ice cream and BBQ .

I do agree with you about the scholarship scenario but that has not decimated the OA in three years .

You are quite right as I have posted before OA was in decline for many social reasons outside of RL , but the facts are there for all to see the switch in playing season has not stemmed the tide .

We need to galvanise the sport again with a think tank that is open and transparent what we have now is a totally fragmented sport with a Amatuer body that represents no one .

A governing body that lacks real leadership with so much swapping and changing of ideas and personnel .

We have a community board which in mine and many others opinion is not fit for purpose and does not represent the majority views of the majority stakeholders of the game the community clubs and its army of volunteers .

I believe Terry our friends over in Yorkshire are contemplating a switch in playing seasons to address the problems and they were very pro active in the support for a summer based season .

You label it Winter I label it traditional with a twist .

Something has to be done mate .

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No it wasn't aimed at you Taxi.As for a switch over in Yorkshire, all I've heard is the season COULD start in September to October and the resume in March and finish in June /July.

Edited by terrywebbisgod

Thank you for your valuable contribution.

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No it wasn't aimed at you Taxi.As for a switch over in Yorkshire, all I've heard is the season COULD start in September to October and the resume in March and finish in June /July.

That's the season structure that I think could work best. Everyone playing at the same time instead of different seasons for different leagues. Also by aligning with the schools it may present an opportunity to attract more players in the Juniors. I also think not playing in July and August is better as a lot of people go on holidays/ weekends away etc. These months could still be used for 9s tournaments for any clubs who would like to keep playing or as a taster for new clubs/players to have a go at league. Some of these players may even decide to take up the 13 a side version. Touch leagues could also run at this time. This playing season may impact on some expansion teams as they rely on union players but at least the players who do play are playing their first choice sport so they won't then leave and go back to union when the season starts. These teams or players could play in the 9s competitions if they just want to keep fit in the union off season.

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That's the season structure that I think could work best. Everyone playing at the same time instead of different seasons for different leagues. Also by aligning with the schools it may present an opportunity to attract more players in the Juniors. I also think not playing in July and August is better as a lot of people go on holidays/ weekends away etc. These months could still be used for 9s tournaments for any clubs who would like to keep playing or as a taster for new clubs/players to have a go at league. Some of these players may even decide to take up the 13 a side version. Touch leagues could also run at this time. This playing season may impact on some expansion teams as they rely on union players but at least the players who do play are playing their first choice sport so they won't then leave and go back to union when the season starts. These teams or players could play in the 9s competitions if they just want to keep fit in the union off season.

Back to you Terry

The NWC tried this format with success and good feedback but this was ignored by the RFL who thought they knew better than people who were running the Amateur game

It sounds so sensible it could work

Edited by Defender1

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Back to you Terry

The NWC tried this format with success and good feedback but this was ignored by the RFL who thought they knew better than people who were running the Amateur game

It sounds so sensible it could work

I fail to see what you want me to do.It could work,it may not.

If you have an axe to grind,may I suggest you do it with the YJL  and not with me.

As I have stated,I don't have a solution and from what I've seen,neither do you.

I have posted an option being considered by the YJL,again,I fail to see what exactly I'm supposed to do.

I'm not part of the YJL,my son plays in the YJL and I help where I can,as most parents do.

I read the community board with interest and most threads descend into either RFL bashing or bring back winter rugby threads and yet most posters don't offer any  options as to how to increase participation.Of course there are exceptions to this rule and they do either propose options or give examples of successful changes made.

Edited by terrywebbisgod

Thank you for your valuable contribution.

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Since the amateur switch to summer, RU Clubs seem to have had an injection of players, can anyone say why ?

Where? The union clubs that I know are losing players in their droves. Clubs which used to field 3-5 teams are now struggling to field 2

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I fail to see what you want me to do.It could work,it may not.

If you have an axe to grind,may I suggest you do it with the YJL  and not with me.

As I have stated,I don't have a solution and from what I've seen,neither do you.

I have posted an option being considered by the YJL,again,I fail to see what exactly I'm supposed to do.

I'm not part of the YJL,my son plays in the YJL and I help where I can,as most parents do.

I read the community board with interest and most threads descend into either RFL bashing or bring back winter rugby threads and yet most posters don't offer any  options as to how to increase participation.Of course there are exceptions to this rule and they do either propose options or give examples of successful changes made.

Sorry Terry no Axe to grind with anybody

You asked if I had an opion I gave mine and and asked for yours, you say I don't have one and neither do you but then say you i have posted an option being considered by the YJL, if you want to keep that secret that is your porogotive

Nobody wants to fall out with anyone all we are trying to do is come up with ideas that may get the game back on track if possible

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If you'd care to read my post back,I said I didn't have a solution  to the problem,not my opinion of the problem.

As far as I'm aware the YJL  option was emailed to clubs in the YJL.It's no secret,you posted the Email on another thread!

Again,in my opinion,some clubs seem to think that the juniors are just there to be turned into pro players and take great delight in boasting about how many players they have on scholarships.And to a certain degree that's good,obviously the pro clubs need players from somewhere but they then think that's job done instead of realising that players who either aren't offered scholarships or are dropped by pro clubs are the players they need to be encouraging and working hard with.

After all they are the clubs future open age players.

Edited by terrywebbisgod

Thank you for your valuable contribution.

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Where? The union clubs that I know are losing players in their droves. Clubs which used to field 3-5 teams are now struggling to field 2

Not a lover of Sports England Participation figures due to the way they are collected and don't agree with the results, but revenue is based on theses figures so they must be right for someone

14+ once a week participation

RL 2012-13. 121,700. 2015-16 90,500

RU. 2012-13. 285,100. 2015-16. 348,500

Neither may be right but as said funding is paid on these figure, RU must be doing something right

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Not a lover of Sports England Participation figures due to the way they are collected and don't agree with the results, but revenue is based on theses figures so they must be right for someone

14+ once a week participation

RL 2012-13. 121,700. 2015-16 90,500

RU. 2012-13. 285,100. 2015-16. 348,500

Neither may be right but as said funding is paid on these figure, RU must be doing something right

That's due to the proliferation of touch rugby. Certainly in Yorkshire, many union clubs have suffered significant drops, so any link to the change in rugby season to summer is inaccurate

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That's due to the proliferation of touch rugby. Certainly in Yorkshire, many union clubs have suffered significant drops, so any link to the change in rugby season to summer is inaccurate

 

RL does touch so why has their figure dropped, i still don't believe we have 90K playing the game no matter what they say, the RFL keep all the registrations why do they not tell us? Probably because SE make it look better than it is

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RL does touch so why has their figure dropped, i still don't believe we have 90K playing the game no matter what they say, the RFL keep all the registrations why do they not tell us? Probably because SE make it look better than it is

And what do you think the RFU do? They're masters of making up figures, just look at some of their attendances. And most touch rugby does count under Union figures despite it being more like league.

And going back to the original point, the change in rugby playing season has no correlation to any supposed 'increase' in union figures

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As somebody who has been been involved with clubs outside the heartlands, playing in July and August is painful.  Numbers are good until July, except the bank holidays, and then they fall off a cliff.  I agree broadly with the point that JM2010 makes about union players.  If you play in winter, you've got guys who want to be there.  It's their primary sport and not some summer affair to work around your union marriage commitments, such as Sevens and pre-season training.  It would impact on clubs and their numbers but, over the long haul, it would mean you have a much more genuine and committed player base.

 

From what I've seen, it might be easier to get council buy-in too.  I've seen numerous clubs try and fail to get a pitch out of their local council.  It may mean playing on a (modified) union pitch but it would allow them to deal with a council 'than be under the thumb of a Union club.  To be honest, you could ask what's the point of having a team at all if it has questionable commitment and it's a bunch of off-season union guys.

 

Then again, I think the whole game in Europe should be played in a autumn-spring format including professionals.  I think the single global season has been disastrous for internationals.

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And going back to the original point, the change in rugby playing season has no correlation to any supposed 'increase' in union figures

 

Sorry I have to disagree on this point

 

I know the Chairman of Hull RU and he said at youth changing seasons is the best thing that has happened to RU in Hull, Lee Radford and Motu Tony played for Hull RU and when they had taster days all the kids wore Hull and Rovers tops but were playing Union, Lee told me this after his condemnation of summer rugby in the Hull Daily mail.

 

Hullensions at I think Under 12s got to a Yorkshire Final and the team was full of RL players, some of our lads played and our coach helped them out.

 

There was a recent vote on going back to winter at youth and Cottingham voted against as it said nearly all their youth teams would fold as nearly all their players play union

 

Hull Ionions again got to a Yorkshire Final and the team was made up of West Hull players

 

I ran the mini's and Youth at Hull RU a few years ago we merged with Beverley to get sides out neither of us could get full teams we sometimes merged 3 age groups to get one team and not always 15

 

Norland won every honour in the Hull open age 2014-15 and decided to try YML during the break a lot of their players played for Hessle RU and not all came back, they are now struggling for numbers and I have heard could struggle to finish the season

 

Not sure of the team or age but was told by a committee member of NWC that a junior team won all the trophies including the league and pulled out with games to go to go play union and win their trophies.

 

last season the start of the Under 11's in Hull was put off for a month as too many teams had players playing union and could not make sides

 

2 years ago at the local Hull finals day Hull Rugby Union had the full back page of the program in colour offering taster days and games in the winter I have the evidence

 

Not blaming Union but West Hull and Lock Lane are struggling to put out 2 teams at open age and are having to use their older 16s, they have no 17 or 18, when clubs like this are struggling the game has a problem

 

I find this hard to believe it is only Hull (and ref to LL) where this is happening

Edited by Defender1

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