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120 points against London teams


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120 points. That’s how many Rochdale and Leigh put against Skolars and Broncos this weekend. Clearly there is not a competitive squad in south or east London, which is a disaster. No one wants to watch one sided games week in week out. 
If Broncos had not gutted Skolars squad we would have been pretty competitive this year but we are where we are and frankly it’s depressing. 
I struggle to see semi pro RL having much of a future unless there’s some sort of reset. 

Edited by EssexRL
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5 minutes ago, EssexRL said:

120 points. That’s how many Rochdale and Leigh put against Skolars and Broncos this weekend. Clearly there is not a competitive squad in south or east London, which is a disaster. No one wants to watch one sided games week in week out. 
If Broncos had not gutted Skolars squad we would have been pretty competitive this year but we are where we are and frankly it’s depressing. 
I struggle to see semi pro RL having much of a future unless there’s some sort of reset. 

It's been obvious from day 1: unless someone's going to fund a full time team, there only room for one team in London, playing part time and perhaps being competitive in League 1. 

The current situation will kill both clubs unless Hughes sees the bigger picture. 

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And another 58 put on the Academy team.

It's depressing.

But, as noted, the worst of it is that the Broncos have taken a number of the Skolars team who've in turn picked up several SCL players to fill the gaps. Every part of the game in London is weaker than it was last year. 

 

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7 minutes ago, Archie Gordon said:

And another 58 put on the Academy team.

It's depressing.

But, as noted, the worst of it is that the Broncos have taken a number of the Skolars team who've in turn picked up several SCL players to fill the gaps. Every part of the game in London is weaker than it was last year. 

 

Exactly. Given how fragile the game here was anyway what chance do we have of people like me are losing interest? 

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Although Skolars are having a tough time at the moment, i think it is important to look at just how badly they were gutted by Broncos - it wasn’t just the coach & a couple of their better players who deserved a chance and realistically had a chance of stepping up that Broncos took.

Looking at the current Broncos website squad list, there are 8 players from last years Skolars team. Another Skolars player was originally in there but now has left & has stopped playing league completely. There are also ex Skolars players in the Broncos reserve team.

So Broncos took the coach, at least 10 players (i can’t see Broncos reserve squad on their website to get the exact number) & the physio!

Skolars then had a few older players retire leaving them with around 3 players who had played the majority of the previous season & sone fringe players who had played the odd games. (As well as an 80% cut in central funding to deal with!)

They recruited a very young squad mainly from their junior team/lLondon junior setups, a few Aussie/Kiwi London league players & brought back the odd ex Skolars/Hemel//Oxford players who would not have made the team in the previous seasons, but could help give the young squad some experience & help them learn.

This years squad may not be winning, but they seem to be playing as a team, for each other and bearing in mind many have under 5 league 1 level games under their belt, their is potential in many positions.

This year is all about team building & getting experience.

If Skolars can survive & be viable next season as a club I think they have done an extraordinary job & the board/coach/players/sponsors/volunteers deserve a lot of thanks.

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I’ll offer up a bigger cause for concern. Check out how many London Junior League games are actually being played (36 0 is a default !) and what the stats don’t show is how many played at 13 a side. The conveyor belt of London talent and reach to the communities is withering on the vine, the pathway to either Skolars and Broncos and even northern England is being lost. 

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1 hour ago, Templegreen said:

If Skolars can survive & be viable next season as a club I think they have done an extraordinary job & the board/coach/players/sponsors/volunteers deserve a lot of thanks.

Don’t get me wrong I’m 100% behind Skolars, but I can’t see where a competitive squad will come from next season. If a club deserved success it Skolars but we need a team that can compete at the level and London needs teams that can perform. 

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1 hour ago, Magic XIII said:

I’ll offer up a bigger cause for concern. Check out how many London Junior League games are actually being played (36 0 is a default !) and what the stats don’t show is how many played at 13 a side. The conveyor belt of London talent and reach to the communities is withering on the vine, the pathway to either Skolars and Broncos and even northern England is being lost. 

Sadly have to agree - the flavour of league is just not hear this season and don’t know when it started but the last two years have not helped any and not sure what the answer is but vicious circle as need top flight clubs being successful which in turn lifts interest and so on

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Your reminder that this didn't have to become our normal - because until last season it really wasn't. We've had 40+ years of London Broncos, 20+ years of London Skolars. We've had expansion that saw grassroots teams all over the southeast.

It is a combination of fatal incompetence at one club, weird stalling at another, and decisions chosen by the RFL that have led to the situation we have now where the game is effectively dead south of Sheffield.

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Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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9 hours ago, gingerjon said:

Your reminder that this didn't have to become our normal - because until last season it really wasn't. We've had 40+ years of London Broncos, 20+ years of London Skolars. We've had expansion that saw grassroots teams all over the southeast.

It is a combination of fatal incompetence at one club, weird stalling at another, and decisions chosen by the RFL that have led to the situation we have now where the game is effectively dead south of Sheffield.

This is where the reality starts to bite. Ideally, clubs outside of the M62 would be ran independently just as those within those heartland areas are. But sadly the game isn't in a position to allow that. The mismanagement of 1 club in one off season should not cause critical damage to the sport in an entire region - and a strategically important region at that.

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10 hours ago, gingerjon said:

It is a combination of fatal incompetence at one club, weird stalling at another, and decisions chosen by the RFL that have led to the situation we have now where the game is effectively dead south of Sheffield.

I agree with your post but on the Skolars point - the strategy (which I saw and was good) was built around the expected money from TWP's Argyll which never materialised. Efforts to find an investor after that were unsuccessful (investing in a RL team at this level in London isn't an amazing prospect). Covid then hit. The original owner, understandably, stepped back to focus on his business. Funding was then cut, and finally Broncos gutted the team.

What drives me nuts is the set up at Skolars really could deliver but the problems remain the same - where do you get players from? How do you get investment? How do you promote RL? I don't see any answers to these questions, despite the massive efforts made by all those involved in the club, (Broncos are a whole different story).

Skolars have tried to build steadily, lay roots down, build community clubs etc, but despite that we are now in a position of sub 200 crowds and 60 point losses. 

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I am aware of how much the clubs themselves put into junior development, but was that not on the back off or the assistance of the full time RL Development Officers, albeit not noticable at first was the removal of these posts not what started this process of decline for the game in the capital? 

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The worrying thing is, if these London clubs fail (i hope they don't). Hemel Stags amateur will be the only club left with only proper semi pro facilities. Saw they are in the middle  of a £200,000 ground improvements (new n additional changing rooms)they needed it. The chairman said they got out because of no players of league 1 standard. London clubs should be more realistic. 

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I think Skolars will be ok TBH

I am expecting Broncos to fold sometime in the summer when a potential loss to Dewsbury + <500 for the Newcastle game (Fri night in London is not conductive for a evening game), will probably finally convince Hughes to pull the plug.  Most of the Broncos players will then go back to Skolars probably

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28 minutes ago, crashmon said:

I think Skolars will be ok TBH

I am expecting Broncos to fold sometime in the summer when a potential loss to Dewsbury + <500 for the Newcastle game (Fri night in London is not conductive for a evening game), will probably finally convince Hughes to pull the plug.  Most of the Broncos players will then go back to Skolars probably

Broncos folding quickly and cleanly woyld genuinely be the best thing for RL in London. 

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1 hour ago, newbe said:

The worrying thing is, if these London clubs fail (i hope they don't). Hemel Stags amateur will be the only club left with only proper semi pro facilities. Saw they are in the middle  of a £200,000 ground improvements (new n additional changing rooms)they needed it. The chairman said they got out because of no players of league 1 standard. London clubs should be more realistic. 

There were probably enough for 1 part time team in London, not 2. So long as the Broncos could be Full time, sign players from the North and abroad to supplement their academy and allow those who don't make it with them to go onto the Skolars or otherwise then it worked to an extent.

Now the Broncos have effectively gutted the Skolars for the part time set up it puts them in direct competition.

Whilst David Hughes has put a lot of money into the club, between him and the RFL they have a lot to answer for regarding such a strategic area.

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13 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

Whilst David Hughes has put a lot of money into the club, between him and the RFL they have a lot to answer for regarding such a strategic area.

Absolutely.

And as to other points above, I think the community game in the south (east) is on its knees, a far cry from when there were several strong clubs, running open age and juniors, albeit from rented facilities; these supplemented by DO. Of course DO helped, but I would argue there was little strategic thinking about their objectives from RFL and in many cases once they were dispensed with, there was an inevitable drop off in numbers, and that decline has continued.

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Certainly Sport England's money enabled the appointment of a good number of DOs, but they entered an already rapidly growing RL scene in the south and London, one based on enthusiasm and volunteers. 

There were good DOs. We had some involved with South London.

But I agree, there was no strategic vision and no sensible RL-sustaining objectives.

Partly due to Sport England themselves, it became a 'numbers game', and how many kids could you force through a six week programme in a school.

The more the merrier til the goalposts changed.

No real priority given to developing the infrastructure of clubs. Nothing to support bricks and mortar. 

It was a recipe for disaster, despite many good people being involved.

The world has moved on. The opportunities have moved on too.

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The Game (albeit on a lower level )  still looks to be thriving in Hemel - Could the Skolars not take one or two games on the Road up to Pennine Way ? If only to show that their is a potential pathway for the young player in that area to aspire to ?

Take some of the Skolars Youth Teams to play the Stags teams , make a full day of Southern RL .

Realise that this is a fairly simplistic idea but surely its in both clubs interest to work together 

21 hours ago, newbe said:

The worrying thing is, if these London clubs fail (i hope they don't). Hemel Stags amateur will be the only club left with only proper semi pro facilities. Saw they are in the middle  of a £200,000 ground improvements (new n additional changing rooms)they needed it. The chairman said they got out because of no players of league 1 standard. London clubs should be more realistic. 

 

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5 minutes ago, Rach said:

The Game (albeit on a lower level )  still looks to be thriving in Hemel - Could the Skolars not take one or two games on the Road up to Pennine Way ? If only to show that their is a potential pathway for the young player in that area to aspire to ?

Take some of the Skolars Youth Teams to play the Stags teams , make a full day of Southern RL .

Realise that this is a fairly simplistic idea but surely its in both clubs interest to work together 

 

Hemel didn't play their SCL-East fixture on Saturday, indeed only 1 of the 4 scheduled games took place. This is the premier Tier 4 competition in the South.

Hemel and Skolars junior teams are 2 of the several LJL teams struggling to get games on.

This is is not me taking aim at these clubs - they are close to my heart. If you'd brought up 2 other London area clubs up, the story would be similar/same.

There will be better days in 2022 but the season down here has started with an almighty struggle to get games on from open age to Primary RL.

 

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13 minutes ago, Rach said:

...

Could the Skolars not take one or two games on the Road up to Pennine Way ? If only to show that their is a potential pathway for the young player in that area to aspire to ?

...

But I like this idea. It would worth thinking about for whatever configuration of part-time club(s) we have in London in L1 next year. 

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