Sudbury Rugby Club opt in to regionalised mini league proposals
Chairman Lloyd Felton says Sudbury Rugby Club have opted in on proposals for a mini league season that he hopes will see their first and second teams back in competitive action early in the new year.
The organising committee of the London & SE Division have contacted all member clubs about regionally split league format competitions to replace their abandoned 2020/21 season. There would be no promotion or relegation implications from them ahead of 2021/22.
In Sudbury’s case it would see their London 1 North campaign replaced by a group consisting of divisional rivals Colchester, North Walsham and Shelford, and Cambridge II. The latter are set to replace Norwich, who have opted out, but Cambridge’s involvementwill need RFU approval.
For Sudbury II there would be a pool consisting of sides from Ipswich, Stowmarket and Hadleigh.
The games would be set to be based on 15-a-side; either full contact or adapted variations – with the scrum and maul the likely casualties – dependent on government advice and subject to the RFU’s Return to Rugby Roadmap moving to ‘Stage F’. It had been at ‘Stage D’ – with non-contact matches of up to 10-a-side and some time limited contact training allowed – prior to the lockdown.
While clubs are able to opt out and decide to arrange their own ad-hoc local fixtures, club chairman Felton said they were all for the RFU’s cluster fixtures proposals.
“We have kept the coaches informed as to the frequent and ongoing league discussions,” he said.
“Collectively we agreed joining the pool was the only realistic option of there being any competitive rugby, in whatever form the revised game takes.
“We are hopeful, if the situation with the pandemic allows, we will see some rugby played at the club early in the new year.
“Our players were delighted at the prospect and are keen to get back to the game.”
Sudbury’s players across the age and gender ranges had just started taking part in non-contact adapted matches at Whittome Field on Saturdays, as well as training, prior to lockdown.
Felton hopes the hope of regionalised fixtures, to get them back playing in 2020/21, will leave players and coaches seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.
“It’s been a tough few months with keeping everyone’s spirits raised and members engaged at training when there’s been nothing to aim for,” he said.
“Hopefully now, when we can see an end to this lockdown and outdoor sports are able to resume, they can now see some light on the horizon.”
Read more: What Tier 2 means for sport