Expressions of interest are being sought by the Women’s Rugby League Association from teams interested in taking part in the 2022/23 campaign.
WRL – the original governing body of the female game – has remained winter-based, while competitions run by the Rugby Football League have focused on summer.
Steve Manning, chair of WRL, said: “We are asking for expressions of interest from any current women’s Rugby League teams, playing during the summer or winter, or newly set up.” Such clubs should contact WRLA vice-chair Amanda ‘Wiggy’ Wigglesworth for further information by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A bond will be required from new clubs, in addition to league fees, before those aspiring clubs will be asked to attend the AGM at the Drop Kick, Bradford at noon on Saturday, September 17, when the dates for the news season will be discussed and agreed.
The Rugby Football League, in its Friday afternoon Community Club Update, offered a link to secretaries to an article recently published on its website regarding a change in legislation relating to ‘preventing abuse in positions of trust in sport’.
From June 28, 2022, those in a position of trust in sports organisations such as Rugby League cannot legally have a sexual relationship with young people they look after who are under 18 years old.
Being in a position of trust is defined as being in a position of authority or responsibility over another person. Anyone who suspects anyone else of abusing a position of trust should report the matter to their club welfare officer, or to the RFL’s safeguarding manager, make a written record of concerns and relevant details, or – if unable to contact the club welfare officer or the RFL’s safeguarding manager, contact the police, children’s social care, or the NSPCC.
Wales Rugby League, who staged their first Masters Festival late last month, have confirmed their 23-player squad for the Masters Rugby League World Cup Festival in York – which will also include Australia, Canada, England, France and Ireland – on Sunday, November 13.
Although the event in Cardiff was the first occasion on which Wales has hosted a festival, the international side will be making its third appearance when the World Cup comes around, the team having previously played in tournaments in Leigh (in 2021) and at Bethesda earlier this year, at .
Players are only eligible for Wales if they are active in Masters Festivals, which are held in England and Wales throughout the year. The squad includes twelve potential new caps, the most prominent being Christiaan Roets, who has already earned 45 Wales caps.
Twenty four of those have been for the full men’s side, twelve for Wales Students and nine for Wales Dragonhearts. He has already played in four World Cups for Wales, comprising the 2008 and 2013 Student competitions and the 2013 and 2017 men’s World Cups.
Wales Masters steering group chairman Alf Harvey said: “Wales Rugby League Masters representation has been a great success on and off the field. The two previous events, the international series at Leigh and the Tri-Nations at Bethesda, have propelled Wales into the international Masters limelight as not just a competitive participant but ambassadors of the sport in Wales.
“The selection panel has had a difficult job in putting the team together as there were so many worthy candidates from an ever-growing list. The players have been chosen according to the individual’s commitment to the sport and engagement in its growth.”
The squad is Wayne Bridges, Gareth Moyle (both Blackpool), Kyle Blake, Craig Field, Russell Gardner, Nicholas Harkin, Jamie Iles, Julian McTavish, Andrew Palfrey, Carl Rawes, Chris Thomas (captain), David Turner (all Cardiff Blue Dragons), Andy Rees (Chester Gladiators), David Morton (Leyland Warriors), Simon Allen, Rob Ashworth, Dave Burns, Daf Curry, Seth Pierce, Christiaan Roets, Dave Ward, Lee Woodworth (all North Wales Buccaneers), Rod Evans (Swindon St George). Moyle, Field, Harkin, Palfrey, Rawes, Turner, Rees, Morton, Allen, Pierce, Roets and Evans are the potential debutants.
Last month’s festival, at the Memorial Ground in Cardiff, was hosted by Cardiff Blue Dragons and also involved teams from North Wales, Chester, Swindon, Aldershot and Fleet. Leading Masters administrator Paul Field, who is also a highly-rated referee, was hailed as the Master of the Festival, while the Team of the Tournament award went to Chester.
Queensbury are already getting excited about Saturday, November 5 – and not just because it’s Guy Fawkes Night (or ‘plot night’, as it’s generally called in Bradford).
Australian Rugby League legend Gorden Tallis will be the Bradford outfit’s guest of honour that evening as part of the build-up to the Rugby League World Cup.
The event, a smart casual affair which will be hosted by the Albert Road Community Hub (ARCH), starts at 7.00pm and tickets, priced at just £20, are available from chairman Mick Lightowler on 07723 724952.
Lightowler, meanwhile, has followed up comments about the drop in adult participants made by Dave Lancaster, of Gloucester, in last week’s Mailbag, and reflections in Talking Grass Roots in the same issue of League Express.
He said: “I couldn’t agree more with your comments. I genuinely fear for the sport’s future at open-age level. Last year when holidays, stag dos and festivals hadn’t really returned to normality, we got an influx of players but, now everything is as usual, lads find other things to do.
“A debate is needed about the timing of the season and, having recently played a Masters game on a pitch like concrete, it’s no wonder the number of injuries are off the chart this year.
“Also the six-again rule and rigid enforcement of the 10-metre rule just drains the players way beyond what an amateur should have to endure.
“We’ve had numerous cancellations this season which then massively hits the clubhouse takings.
“It’s time the RFL went out to clubs, and more importantly players, to get their views. We have to hope that the World Cup is a massive success and gives the whole sport a massive injection of cash, players and media exposure.
“And the forthcoming visit by Gorden Tallis is a definite plus-point for us!”
Some 250 Over-35s players enjoyed the first North West Masters Festival for three years at Crosfields, Warrington.
Seventeen teams ‘contested’ the event – all Masters games finish scoreless in accordance with the ethos of the format – which was played before a healthy crowd in a buoyant atmosphere.
Crosfields’ neighbours Rylands Sharks were hailed as the Team of the Day while new ground was broken when the Referee of the Day accolade went to the Crosfields team for their proactive approach to match officials.
One player who particularly enjoyed the occasion was Steve Dacey who, having recovered from a serious road traffic accident, travelled North from the South coast to catch up with old friends.
Another was Lee Farrall, who lives in the South-West of France and is a Masters player with the Galia Tots near Perpignan, and who interrupted his family holiday to have a run-out. And septuagenarian Dougie Parkin – who has returned from France – took the opportunity to renew acquaintance with old pals.
The most memorable moment, though, was supplied by Medway Dragons Master Ed Baldwin, who made the long trip from Kent with a couple of other Dragons players and who stunned everyone by proposing to his girlfriend, Donna Morgan, who was treated to a standing ovation as she went through the crowd to answer “yes”.
An incomparable ‘Masters Moment’ and Ed, a twelve-year veteran who played two games on the day and refereed another, admitted: “Two things make me smile in this world, Masters Rugby League and my girlfriend – now fiancée – Donna. Put the two together and I’m now the happiest man in the world.”
A new recruit to Masters, Zsikai Balazs (aka ‘Big Foot’) is probably the only Hungarian playing Masters. Zsikai, who plays for North East Masters, trekked down from Newcastle despite his team not being involved and turned out for Cumbrian side Arlecdon, picking up the Master of the Festival award for his commitment.
The festival was organised by Dave Reid and Kev Redmond, who both found time to play.
Masters Rugby League will next be on centre stage on Saturday, September 3, when the National Festival takes place at Stanley Park, Blackpool.
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