We must work to­gether to aid the lo­cal game

Gloucestershire Echo - - SPORTING INDEX -

IT has been re­ported on so­cial me­dia that this sea­son has seen many chal­lenges for the lo­cal game.

Some first team cup games are not be­ing played, sec­ond teams are pulling out of fix­tures, and third team games are nearly ex­tinct.

Com­mu­nity rugby has many chal­lenges in­clud­ing the re­duc­tion in se­nior player num­bers, putting a strain on clubs to field a full set of teams each Satur­day.

Many are suc­cess­ful within the league pro­gramme but do not have teams who play reg­u­larly be­low the first XV.

Take Wid­den Old Boys - they are near the top of Glouces­ter Premier, but pulled their sec­ond team out of the district league as they do not want to keep let­ting other teams down by pulling out of fix­tures.

Their sec­onds now tar­get cer­tain Satur­days when they know they will have enough play­ers to play a friendly, en­sur­ing no teams are let down.

Many play­ers as­so­ciate them­selves with a club but many play very lit­tle rugby.

I am asked fre­quently how we stop this trend of play­ers leav­ing the game too early.

Mo­ti­vat­ing play­ers to play con­sis­tently through­out the sea­son must be the first step, pro­vid­ing a pack­age that stim­u­lates a player to play.

This may in­clude train­ing once a week through the win­ter months, train­ing in­doors, train­ing on all weather sur­faces, dif­fer­ent train­ing tech­niques, train­ing with the ball work­ing on skills and fit­ness, re­duc­ing the length of time of train­ing (one hour tops) play­ing games on dif­fer­ent days to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment that is stim­u­lat­ing.

Even join­ing with other clubs to form new teams - I know that Cain­scross and Pain­swick sec­onds and thirds have come to­gether to form ‘Cain­swick’ en­abling play­ers who are avail­able to get game time.

I know that the com­mu­nity game in Glouces­ter­shire has to adapt to the new chal­lenges that it faces or games be­low the first XV.

All gov­ern­ing bod­ies must come to­gether, which they have done be­fore, to find a strat­egy that will help the com­mu­nity, with the watch­words be­ing adap­ta­tion and flex­i­bil­ity.

Glouces­ter Rugby must be in­volved in this process as they have the re­sources and knowl­edge to make a dif­fer­ence.

I want the next Cipri­ani to come from Glouces­ter­shire but this will not hap­pen if we do not talk to each other and af­fect change.

Do not let lo­cal trib­al­ism get in the way of fu­ture suc­cess.

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