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SPRING 2020 / ISSUE 10

IN THIS ISSUE: Rosslyn Park FC Long Eaton Rugby Club Kings Cross Steelers RFC And much more...


CONTENTS Guest Comment: Tom Home ..................................................................................02 Rosslyn Park HSBC National Schools 7’s ..................................................................................03 Wolf Data Systems join forces with Richmond Rugby ..................................................................................04 Beccehamian RFC planning approval ..................................................................................05 Highland Rugby Club partner with Inverness College UHI ..................................................................................06 Redruth RFC - ‘Blow the Whistle on Cancer’ ..................................................................................06 Long Eaton Rugby Club launches mental health awareness initiative ..................................................................................07 Rugby club revives cancelled bus route .................................................................................08 Luton RFC submit planning application ..................................................................................09 Kings Cross Steelers & Gayle Europe .................................................................................09 New lease deal helps club move forward  .................................................................................10 East Grinstead RFC to raise funds to buy England’s scrummage machine ...................................................................................11 Doncaster Phoenix mental health awareness ...................................................................................11 New goalposts for Carlisle Rugby Club ...................................................................................12 Bletchley Rugby Club announce sponsor ...................................................................................12 New development update at Towcestrians ....................................................................................12 St Ives Rugby Club receive funding ...................................................................................13 David Roberts nominated for RFU Board ...................................................................................14

Disaster brings rivals together ..................................................................................14 Advertising boards sold at Marlborough RC ..................................................................................15 Gravesend RC joins with Kuflink Foundation ..................................................................................15 Linda Gillespie - Honorary life membership ..................................................................................16 Newcastle Magpies receive support from leading local sport charity ...................................................................................17 Another 3 year deal with Krusada ...................................................................................17 Adair sponsor Old Emanuel Women’s team ..................................................................................18 Shaw Cross Sharks and MND Association ..................................................................................18 CEO Sleep Out - raising funds for the homeless ..................................................................................19 Clubs make Spring Festival happen ..................................................................................20 Beverley Braves receive equipment from the RFL Grants Programme ..................................................................................21 New Director of Rugby at Shelford Rugby Club ..................................................................................21 Profectionery sponsor Gateshead Storm ..................................................................................22 Folkestone appoint Daniel Pitkin .................................................................................22 Chinnor youngsters name new club mascot ..................................................................................23 East London RFC thanks sponsors ..................................................................................23 From the professional game ..................................................................................24

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Guest Comment: Tom Home

Last chance saloon for the Azzuri? Perhaps one of the most hotly debated topics surrounding the Six Nations this year has been whether or not it is time to bid farewell to Italy and offer another nation the opportunity to throw their hat in the ring. Italy's last win in the tournament was a 19-22 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield in February 2015. Between then and now, the Azzuri have failed to win any of their 20+ fixtures in the competition and have already suffered two nilled defeats in their opening three matches of this year's Six Nations.Currently 14th in the Men's World Rugby rankings and with the likes of Samoa, Uruguay and the United States all closing the gap year by year, Italy is in real danger of falling further afield and dropping below their lowest ever ranking of 15th. Not only is this Italian freefall detrimental to the integrity of the Six Nations, but it also is 02

not a pleasant spectacle for the fans or anyone else associated with the team. These are increasingly worrying times for the Italian Rugby Federation who, now more than ever, are facing serious questions surrounding their country's future status in the Six Nations. One nation that always seems to be mentioned as worthy replacements is Georgia, who are currently ranked two places above Italy and performed strongly in the 2020 Rugby Europe Championship - as they do every year. Played between European national teams outside of the Six Nations sphere, the Rugby Europe Championship provides countries with opportunities to showcase their skills, abilities and, most importantly, desire to improve. Prior to the Coronavirus outbreak, which has seen the Rugby Europe Championship placed on hold, Georgia were sitting atop the table having won one hundred per cent of their opening four fixtures and accumulating a staggering points difference of +128. Not for one moment am I suggesting that the teams Georgia were up against posed the same sorts of competitive threats as the likes of England, Ireland and France, however, surely Italy have been given more than enough chances to show that they can compete at Europe's highest level, yet have proved time and time again that they're just not up to par at the moment. One scenario that has been tabled on several occasions is implementing some form of promotion and relegation stipulation between the Rugby Europe Championship and the Six Nations. Do I think this would be a positive change? Absolutely.


Let's be realistic, Italy are never going to be real contenders for the Six Nations title. With this lack of expectancy comes a settlement for averageness. Without the threat of being demoted to a lesser competition, there is no real incentive for them not to finish bottom of the table. Since joining Europe's elite in 2000, Italy have finished in sixth place a grand total of 14 times, with their highest finishes (fourth) coming in 2007 and 2013. This salient reason is why, I believe, for the sake of the progression and development of not just second-tier European nations but also Italy, there should be promotion and relegation in the Six Nations. Not only would this provide fantastic opportunities for elite learning and growth for the likes of Georgia, but it could also be the rude awakening that Italian rugby has needed for some time. Do I think that Georgia would be immediately successful? Of course not. I think it would be very naive of me to insinuate that Georgia's addition to the Six Nations would reap immediate benefits, however, no one can ever expect Georgia to improve without increased exposure to tierone nations.Assuming Italy were to drop down into the Rugby Europe Championship, the likelihood is that they would (and should) win most if not all of their matches. Wouldn't that be bad for the likes of Spain, Belgium, Germany and other countries in the competition? Not exactly. While it may seem that promotion and relegation may just result in Georgia and Italy swapping places each year and decimating their opposition in the Rugby Europe Championship time after time, I believe that if other nations, like Spain, Belgium and Germany, knew that they had the opportunity to ply their trade

against some of the world’s best teams and showcase individuals to the likes of the Premiership, PRO14, Super Rugby and Top 14, not only would that be a constant driver for improvement but also, could encourage more indigenous people to take an active interest and become involved in rugby at grassroots. For the sake of the tournament and the progression of European rugby as a whole, something needs to change in the not so distant future. Whether a grassroots club or an international test side, aspirations of progressing and being the best you can be is a vital element in all sports. If there is no way up, then the only alternatives are to go down or remain stagnant in a limbo of unfulfilled uncertainty. Some may argue that sticking to the status quo is best but I for one prefer the 'you never know until you try' option.

The Rosslyn Park HSBC National Schools 7’s

The Rosslyn Park HSBC National Schools 7’s will be hosting the world’ slargest rugby tournament in March 2020, with over 10,000 players descending on the playing fields of Wandsworth & Merton. The Rosslyn Park School Sevens was launched in 1938 and now, in its 81st

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consecutive year, goes from strength to strength. Running from Monday 23rd March to Friday 27th March 2020, 850 teams from schools across the world will battle it out for 7 different trophies over five days. Teams came from all over the UK as well as South Africa, Pakistan, Lebanon, Canada, Sweden, Belgium, Portugal, Russia and Ireland. Rosslyn Park HSBC National Schools 7s is committed to leading the way in promoting inclusivity within rugby. This year will see the addition of 3 new competitions where the main focus is mass participation in line with the RFU inclusivity objectives, including an additional new female competition, and an U11 competition. Last year’s winners, Sedbergh School, are back looking to defend their title in the U18 Cup and in the U18’s Girls AASE we welcome back the defending champions Hartpury College.

Rosslyn Park HSBC National Schools 7s is aware of its environmental responsibility and we are committed to improving our actions and long-term sustainability. Almost half of 2019’s waste was recycled, which we hope to increase by 25% this year.“ We would like to extend a warm welcome to all participants, coaches and spectators in 2020”says Andrew Higgins, Tournament Director, “The tournament is built on the players and we thank them for their continued support”.

Wolf Data Systems join forces with Richmond Rugby

Dom Shabbo, Managing Director of Rosslyn Park said, “At a time when semi-professional rugby in England is going through a turbulent time, I am immensely proud that Rosslyn Park continues to host the world’s biggest rugby tournament.” Rosslyn Park HSBC National Schools 7s has an unrivalled roll-call of former participants including England Coach Martin Johnson, Gareth Edwards, Lawrence Dallaglio, Ugo Monye and former England Sevens captain Ben Gollings, Lewis Ludlum, Chris Cracknell, Jonathan Joseph, and Dom Shabbo. The tournament also attracts over 7,000 spectators each year, including a host of famous faces from the sporting world, including James Haskell, Mike Brown, Manu Tuilagi and footballs’ Jamie Redknapp.

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Richmond Rugby has announced that local IT and business technology company, Wolf Data Systems, have come on-board as club partner for the remainder of the 2019/20 season and the next two seasons. As part of the agreement, the Wolf Data Systems logo will appear on the roof of both dug-outs beside the main pitch for all club match days. Wolf Data Systems was set up by industry experts to cut through the jargon and offer clients improvements in IT and equipment


,whilst reducing costs with transparent contracts. Wolf Data CEO, William Storey, said: "Richmond Rugby are a brilliant foundation of the local community and do amazing work across a variety of areas, not least in elite rugby. As a Richmond company it is an honour to work with them."

- FundRaising Committee - to raise the funds required for proposed changes to the clubhouse. This will be the most challenging project that the club has undertaken since their members built the club house in the early 1970’s and they will need the support of all club members to assist in the project.

Jimmy Wallace, Richmond Rugby’s Commercial Director, commented: “William and his team have done a fantastic job in recent months in both reducing our overheads on various office products, and also upgrading our office equipment in the process, so it feels like a double win. We are delighted to now strengthen our partnership further and look forward to introducing the Wolf Data team to our members and supporters.”

Beccehamian RFC club house receives planning approval Beccehamian RFC are delighted to report that at a Bromley Planning Sub-Committee meeting on the 5th December that their application for an extension to the club house was approved. There are a few conditions associated with the approval, but all of these were expected and are reasonable for the type of extension being undertaken. So congratulations to all those involved in gaining the approval and now for the next challenge which will be driven by the 2 subcommittees: -Building Controls Committee - for the detailed design and build activities

The task and challenge they face should not be underestimated and it will also take a lot of hard work and time to complete. Due to the amount of change and disruption, and so as to not impact on their current playing activities, the majority of the build activities will need to be done out of season. So to manage expectations, undertaking the new build during the summer of 2020 will be too soon and the Beccs Exec Committee has therefore targeted the start of September 2021 a realistic completion date. This is a really exciting opportunity and time for the club and will be a big step forwards in providing fantastic facilities for our current and future membership.

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Summary of extension and changes to the club house: 1. Install two new non-gender specific RFU compliant sized changing rooms with private showers and toilet facilities. 2. A lift for disabled access to the 1st floor. 3. A disabled toilet. 4. Physiotherapy and injury assessment / recovery room. 5. Improved Ladies toilet facilities. 6. New entrance and entrance hall area. 7. Relocate the Officials Changing rooms. 8. Restructure the stairs to the 1st floor. 9. Relocate the cellar / brewery delivery room. 10. Extend and refurbish the Members bar. 11. A length of the clubhouse pitch facing the side balcony with access from the Members bar and Hall. 12. A 1st floor terrace area with access for the Members bar. 13. Additional staircase for access to/from pitches to terrace area. 14. A rugby equipment store room replacing the storage containers

community. This includes Rugby Scholarships where they look at keeping or attracting rugby playing talent to promote and maintain high level rugby while studying at Inverness College UHI. Care & Learning, working together to develop a programme where Rugby's values can improve the lives of young people to provide them with life skills. Highland have also been in discussions with Inverness College UHI about how we can work together to improve opportunities in Sports Science, Work Placements. Research and Curriculum Enhancement.

Redruth RFC host ‘Blow the Whistle on Cancer’

Highland Rugby Club partner with Inverness College UHI Inverness College UHI and Highland Rugby Club signed a unique partnership agreement which will see them work closely together to create high-value opportunities to encourage young people to stay in the region, and attract talent from elsewhere. Highland & Inverness College UHI staff have been in regular discussion about the possibilities and have come up with some creative ways to make a lasting impact on the local

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Redruth RFC hosted the Cancer Research team for a ‘Blow the Whistle on Cancer’ match day. The Reds were cheered onto the pitch by a guard of honour of Cancer survivors, a group of people who have faced and are facing a much greater challenge than trying to win a rugby match. The Redruth players in their honour wore special socks in cancer Image:colours Courtesy of Staines Rugby research generously donated by Paul


Hancock of Granite Sports. These socks were presented to the players in the dressing room pre-match by Brenda Pedley, which must have been a very special moment. Off the field there were: - A Cancer awareness stall in the Pool Room. -A Half-Time Bucket Collection. - A Cake Stall and Take Away Cream tea stall in the foyer. - A Man-of the match draw with the winner to enjoy a meal for two generously donated by the Penventon Park Hotel. It was a fantastic day at the club with a great win on the field as well and over £1,200 raised for a great cause.

Long Eaton Rugby Club launches mental health awareness initiative

issues and raise awareness by providing emotional support, a safe and nonjudgemental space for open conversation and access to welfare services in the local community for members of the club. As part of the initiative, the Long Eaton Rugby will host guest speakers throughout the year to talk to players, coaches and supporters of all ages about how to cope with the pressures of sport, family, social media, peer pressure, drug and alcohol issues, career stress and more. The club has also put in place Wellbeing Champions, a team made up of prominent members of the Long Eaton community who have experience and direct access to councillors, social services and other avenues of help for people suffering with mental health issues. These include Gary Sumpter, Gill Cutts, Paul Gardener, Tim Plant, Cara Bailey, Lizzie Knibbs and Duncan Gooch. Club Captain and co-founder of the campaign, Gary Sumpter, commented on the measures put in place. He said: “Although the topic is being spoken about more and more openly, the number of adults and children who suffer with mental health issues is still worryingly high. It impacts all of our lives either directly or indirectly and so it is incredibly important that we, as a club, aim to help reduce the stigma around it, in order to help our members as much as possible.“

Long Eaton Rugby Club has launched an innovative mental health awareness initiative to support its players, coaches and supporters. The ‘Kick Off the Conversation’ campaign aims to reduce the stigma of mental health

The wellbeing of our players, supporters and coaches is our top priority, and we’ve been working very hard to put this fantastic team of volunteers together to really try and make a difference. Sport can often be a high stress environment; with pressure created through

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team selection, injury, friendships and other factors, so we feel that we can make a great impact through the support and talks we have planned.” Long Eaton Rugby will also be sharing information and guidance across its social media channels and promotional materials throughout the club house. Duncan Gooch, local GP, LERFC President and Wellbeing Champion, said: “We are incredibly proud to be championing a project like this for our local community. This will be a real team effort and we want to emphasize that we are all in this together. Friends, family, colleagues, parents; if you see someone struggling it is important to ask if they are ok – no problem is too small to talk about. We want to normalise these conversations within our club. We are one of the first sporting organisations in our region to launch such a campaign and I look forward to seeing the impact it will undoubtedly have on our members.”

Rugby club sets 'great example' by reviving cancelled bus route A bus service which left rural residents feeling "isolated and lonely" after being stopped is set for a new lease of life - thanks to Lowestoft & Yarmouth RFC. The 108 bus service, which travelled from the James Paget University Hospital, in Gorleston, to Oulton and into Lowestoft town centre, was taken from the roads on October 31.Now, following a successful trial run in December, Lowestoft and Yarmouth

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Rugby Club has launched a new service using the club's minibus. The service is offered in an attempt to tackle instances of rural isolation within the villages north of Lowestoft, with residents saying they felt "isolated and lonely" within a month of route stopping. In a joint statement, the rugby club and Waltons MOT and Service Centre - which is partnering the club - said they recognised the importance of their local communities and that people were in need of assistance, as well as praising the team of volunteers for giving up their time to operate the service. The Rugby Community Bus service has been operating twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays, picking up in West Hopton, Lound and Blundeston to get to London Road North in Lowestoft at around 10.30am, before a return trip at 2pm. The service is provided free of charge to passengers and is staffed with a driver and passenger assistance person, both of who are current rugby club members or volunteers supplied from staff at Waltons, who maintain the minibus as part of the sponsorship package with the club. James Reeder, Suffolk County Councillor for Oulton, said: "It is very disappointing that we had to withdraw the funding for bus route 108. However, when the rationale was explained at the community meetings, residents could appreciate why this difficult decision was made." The Rugby Community Bus is a great example of the wider community finding a solution and I am extremely grateful to the


members of the rugby club and Waltons MOT and Service Centre for offering their services." Not only are they providing the club's minibus and driver, but a person to help passengers get on and off the bus."This is a great example of the local community working with local authority to find new solutions."

Luton RFC submit Sundon Road planning application

Luton Rugby Football Club has submitted a planning application for new facilities at Sundon Road following two years of consultation and engagement culminating in a public consultation event in late September. Over 67% of those who attended the consultation event sup- ported the proposals with a further 10% showing no preference. The application reflects issues raised at the consultation and how they have been addressed where possible. One of the key comments was the site’s relationship with the nearby ceme- tery and church so increased landscaping has been included along the

south eastern boundary. A further improvement is the extension of the footpath from Lower Sundon on the northern side of Sundon Road to the entrance to the site otherwise the plans are very similar to those that have been presented since the start of 2019. The application will now be scrutinised by Central Bedfordshire Council and a decision is hoped for by Easter 2020.

Kings Cross Steelers partner with Gayle Europe

The club are delighted to announce a new partnership with Gayle Europe the world's first independently owned LGBTQ+ beverage company now available in the UK. At the very heart of Gayle is a call to action, to love one another and to celebrate the power and beauty of diversity. Gayle stands for the belief that we can unite communities through something so quintessentially Australian as sharing a few drinks with mates. With this in mind, we created our own unique handcraft beer and cider, brewed with love, to not only celebrate unity and the LGBTQ+ community but also a reason to enjoy with friends and family.

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Michael Nanton-Knight of Gayle Europe said “The Gayle team would like to work with the best, people who are real game-changers within their chosen profession and have the same core values as us. This is why we’re honoured to be entering into a partnership with World-renowned rugby club The Kings Cross Steelers. The work that the KXS has achieved within the LGBTQ+ community and rugby game is beyond outstanding and commendable. Together we will push boundaries and continue to promote diversity and inclusivity. Exciting times to come.” Matt Webb Chairman of Kings Cross Steelers said “Gayle’s work in Australia and around the world breaking down stereotypes over a beer or cider fits perfectly with our ethos of breaking down stereotypes on the rugby pitch and in the bar afterwards. We cannot wait to enjoy this great beer after a hard 80 minutes playing and working together to continue on our missions of inclusivity.”

New lease deal helps club move forward

Ipswich YM Rugby Club will be celebrating their centenary in five years’ time with a lot of confidence – thanks to a new lease extension of their ground.

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The grassroots club has a long and proud history and is currently providing rugby for senior, youth and junior teams. Chairman Harry Moore explained: “Ipswich YM is also very much a community hub used by charities and other groups for meetings and events in addition to the provision of rugby for all age groups.” The 15-year lease extension at The Street, Rushmere Road, was agreed by the club and site owners Ipswich Borough Council and Mr Moore said: “We look forward to continuing our relationship with the Council and the extension of the lease will allow the club to continue to thrive well past our club centenary in 2025. We already have excellent facilities however we do have plans that will bring the whole of the club together with the erection of a lean-to over a new patio area. This work will commence in late June marking the annual NatWest-sponsored Rugby Force day.” But, firstly, the club will be hosting ‘The KBB Centre Grass Roots Minis Festival’ on Sunday 8th March when more than 500 boys and girls aged six to 12 years will come from neighbouring clubs to take part in a series of games. “If it is anything like last year’s event the day will be a great success and the youngsters who take part will have a really enjoyable day.” The Council’s Deputy Leader, Councillor Bryony Rudkin, said: “We enjoy a positive partnership with Ipswich YM, which is one of the most important and well-established sports clubs in Suffolk. We share their goal of encouraging more young people into sport and are pleased that extending this lease gives them the stability and confidence to move forward.”


East Grinstead RFC to raise funds to buy England’s scrummage machine

Mental health awareness session for Doncaster Phoenix ‘Demons’ squad Awareness of mental health has certainly been in the news in recent times in the world of sport with a number of high-profile cases coming to the fore. So, embracing the theme the Demons recently invited "State of Mind" to come along to Castle Park and talk about mental health to their playing squad. 

East Grinstead RFC have been given a brilliant opportunity to purchase Rhino’s new ‘Powahouse’ model scrummaging machine and the very piece of equipment that was recently on loan to England in their preparations and lead up to the Japan RWC. The club has been offered the machine for a very competitive price and as they really need a replacement to the current machine which is rather small and a struggle to fit against the existing sledge, they are hoping we can raise the funds.  Andy Poole, East Grinstead RFC President said: “What a find for the club! This highprofile equipment would play a big role in preparing our forwards for the toughest of all tests and will be used by our senior men, women and Intermediates (U15’s and above). We are reaching out to our members, community and local businesses in the hope that their support could help us with funding.”

This subject is one close to many players and something which as a team we support wholeheartedly. The Demons are in full support of mental health awareness and breaking the stigma that often comes from this subject. The session delivered by "State of Mind" was very emotional but also eye opening. The journeys of the speakers related to you not only as an individual but also as a rugby player. The event opened a door for some of the players, as they in turn opened up to the team about their struggles and as a group we put what we had just learnt into practice and came together for them.  The club would recommend this to everyone, it doesn't matter what you do, who you are, if you play any sport or just support consider holding a "State of Mind" session and support mental health awareness.

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New goalposts for Carlisle Rugby Club

New development update at Towcestrians RFC

As part of the continuing upgrade of the facilities at Warwick Road, Carlisle Rugby Club have been able to purchase new sets of goalposts for pitches 2 and 3. Those currently in use are well past their useful best and advantage was taken from an RFU discount offer that was recently available from approved suppliers. The club have been fortunate in being able to gather in some grants to help with the purchase and installation of the new posts, the uprights of which are hinged, thus enabling easier maintenance after they have been taken into use. The club has expressed its gratitude thanks to Carlisle City Council, Cumbria County Council (Carlisle Local Area Committee) and the Cumbria Community Foundation (Thomas Graham & Sons Ltd, charity account).

Bletchley Rugby Club announce sponsor Bletchley Rugby Club welcome club sponsor Ganges Lounge for the 2019/20 season. They are so grateful to them, and our other sponsors that have helped them accomplish so much over the years. Without their support we wouldn't be able to reach the goals we set ourselves here at Bletchley Rugby Club.

Regarding the new development at Towcestrians RFC there has been a lot of work by the Development Committee trying to sort out grants and plans going forward, meetings with SNC, our NGB’s, contractors etc. The weather has put a strain on schedules as well as their existing pitches and Tom, their groundman, has had a mammoth task preparing pitches and training areas. He is doing a sterling job in adverse conditions. The current situation is as follows: Churchill’s are currently on site tipping loads of soil onto the new land, where it is being redistributed by them despite the weather. Churchill’s, when the weather permits, will also be repairing the service road they put in. Pitch 4 is almost to its required level. Topsoil and drainage (funds permitting) will then be put on top and graded ready for seeding which will then take place. It is hoped that pitch 4 works will be completed by mid April. This will then be

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ready for use in August. Pitch 3 is looking in great shape and will be ready in the spring. It is still growing and being cut regularly - Posts will go up soon. Churchill’s will continue to fill the rest of the ground where the cricket pitch will be sited and it is anticipated all the ground works will be completed in the summer, with seeding of the cricket pitch as soon as possible. Churchill’s will also in the meantime finish off the temporary car park (it will form the base of the new Tennis and MUGA area in due course). This is work in progress, the topsoil from there and the hockey pitch area will be recycled on the new ground. The club is waiting for final approval of some outstanding grants from SNC, Sport England and England Hockey Foundation to fund the new hockey pitch. A planning application for the new astro pitch has been submitted, which is then a 9 week process. SNC have already indicated that they will support the planning application. Once the funds have been secured for the astro, the club can commence work. It is anticipated that work will be started in early April. The hockey pitch is a 12 week build with a 2 week contingency, so will be ready well before the start of the season.The amount of funding that the club finally receives will also determine the spec of the astro pitch and the equipment and also the number of temporary changing rooms they want to provide before the new clubhouse is built.

So, by summertime the club will have one of the best floodlit training pitches (Chesil) anywhere in the area, a new full size pitch 4 which will have backlighting from pitch 3, a new floodlit sand dressed hockey pitch capable of playing to national league standards and be available for use of other sports such as walking football, rugby training etc, a new car park for 250 cars and a cricket pitch, not ready for use till next year but will have lovely green grass on it.

St Ives Rugby Club receive funding to move the club forward St. Ives Rugby Club’s ambition to be the best location to enjoy rugby in the district has taken another giant leap forward with the award of two generous grants. A £30,000 grant from the Mick George Community Fund towards the installation of match ready floodlights was confirmed in November. And this news has been boosted by the confirmation that the Sport England Community Asset Fund is adding £20,000 to the cause. The news comes as the Club continues to expand playing numbers at both senior and junior levels. Playing host to rugby union over the winter months and league in the summer, the floodlights will facilitate increased activity and participation of all age groups at the Club’s permanent Somersham Road ground. With funding now secure, the Club’s detailed project planning indicates installation will be completed well before the spring.

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Club Chairman Mark Smy commented, “We are absolutely delighted to learn of the grants from the Mick George Community Fund and the Sport England Community Asset Fund towards the installation of match ready floodlights at the Club. As an amateur, family-friendly club, we rely heavily on the generosity of benefactors such as Mick George Ltd. and Sport England and are very grateful for their continued support. This addition to our ever-improving facilities will enable us to host an expanding calendar of activities for the people of St. Ives and district to enjoy, including rugby for those from 6 to 60.”

David Roberts to be nominated for RFU Board

Disaster brings rivals together

Storm Dennis caused such horrific damage across the country, not least at Regentsholme, home of Lydney RFC. Their clubhouse in particular along with the pitches have been devastated and the rugby family has rallied to provide whatever support it can. Old Patesians RFC have always enjoyed a tremendous ding-dong with Lydney RFC over the years and in true sporting fashion, today’s playing group (players, coaches and officials alike) have extended an arm of support to ensure Lydney continues business as usual on the field. The clubs shared training facilities and had a joint conditioned session. 

Congratulations to David Roberts, RFU Council Representative at Herts Rugby, who has been nominated by the RFU Nominations Committee to become the new Chairman of the Community Game Board. This nomination will go to the RFU Council in the spring for ratification and then on to the AGM in June. The Community Game Chairman has a seat on the RFU board.

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Head Coach, Chris Downes, said: “The storm damage there has been awful and although we’re miles away, we as a club want to do all we can to help them out – we are all mates after all. There’s a few lads in both camps that have turned out at both clubs and it’s actually a great way to add variety to training just when both clubs need it most.”


“It’s going to benefit both sides to have opposed practice. I’ve spoken to Four-O [Lee Fortey, Lydney Head Coach] and mapped out the session – we’ve both got very similar goals that we want to achieve from it. It’s also added a little buzz among the players after a fallow week so it’s a great preparation for our up-coming trip to Beaconsfield at the weekend.”

Advertising boards sold at Marlborough Rugby Club

who will benefit. Revenue created by the sale of the advertising boards also helps fund the creation of a new ladies rugby section, where part of the upstairs in the clubhouse is earmarked to be turned into new ladies changing rooms. Take-up of the boards by local business was immediate. All were sold within two weeks, with more than twenty companies signing up, led by existing major club sponsors including Ramsbury Brewery, Chilvester Financial, Jones Robinson and Compeed the club's main sponsor." The Town Council have been extremely supportive of what we are looking to do for the Town" explained Gary.

"Another step forward in funding the development of rugby in Marlborough" said Marlborough Rugby Club Chair, Gary Sharp as the advertising barriers were installed along one side of the main pitch on The Common. Gary was on hand along with Club Secretary Mark Thomas and Mayor Mervyn Hall to help put the new boards in place. “The revenue raised from these advertisements helps to put the club on a sustainable financial footing allowing us to further invest in our thriving minis/juniors section both at the club and at St John’s Academy” added Gary. He also noted that it isn't just the youngsters

Mayor Mervyn Hall was clear in his support for what the club is doing to promote rugby and sport in general across the town, stating when asked: “Marlborough Town Council has supported this rugby club initiative over the last couple of years. We have limited financial resources to support community sport in Marlborough but we are keen to support a club’s self- funding initiatives”.

Gravesend Rugby Club joins hands with Kuflink Foundation Statement from the club: "The Kuflink Foundation shows great support for GRFC and grassroots rugby, with their help young people in our community are able to realise their potential. Without the assistance of the Foundation, many young people would miss out on fantastic opportunities. We can't thank them enough for all they do"

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Linda Gillespie put forward for Honorary Life Membership

venue, and Linda took on the voluntary role of Events & Marketing Manager and joined the Management Committee. Later in 2004 came a Sportsmen’s Lunch and 2006 saw the first of a new series of Summer Balls, which attracted over 260 attendees, a remarkable achievement considering that Linda and Penny Thompson started “from scratch”. 2008 brought another Sportsmen’s Lunch and the first of the current series of Burn’s Night Suppers, with the pattern repeated in 2009. 2010 also saw a summer of 3rd party events leading to a cash positive and profitable “close season”; and Linda taking on the additional role of Facilities Manager.

Linda Gillespie, who retired from her roles at Marlow Rugby Club during last August, is Marlow Rugby Club’s first female Honorary Life Member for over 25 Years of outstanding service to the Club. Linda’s association with the club started over 25 years ago, when her family joined their club. Linda’s three sons Daniel, Leon, and Jamie all played 1st XV rugby at Marlow. Her husband Malcolm was 1st XV Manager and Senior Registration Secretary for many years, while also maintaining the fabric of the club’s buildings. Linda’s involvement in the club’s events business was stimulated in 2004 when she held a personal event in our clubhouse. This was long before the refurbishment that brought new flooring, ceilings and the sliding partition to our social spaces, and it would be fair to describe the environment at that time as “tired looking”. The transformation Linda effected that evening was spectacular and demonstrated the potential of the clubhouse as an events

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2011 brought another landmark with the first major corporate event with Softcat. 2012 was the Club’s 65th Anniversary, with the Anniversary Dinner and the Summer Ball on consecutive nights. At this stage catering firms were used for formal events, which significantly diminished the margins and income achievable. The growing number and quality of events meant that it became feasible to bring most of the catering “in house”, and former 1st XV player Mark Robertson joined Linda’s team as chef; which gave our Club the flexibility and resources to attract a larger number of high-quality events. What's been said above concentrates on individual or series of annual events; but there is also the Saturday and Sunday catering for senior and Age Grade players. Linda managed that and employed and trained an evolving team of part-time helpers to provide a very high-quality service in (certainly on Sundays!) a very busy and demanding environment.


All this while recruiting, developing and leading our other employees too, including their grounds staff and part-time bar staff; being the cheerful and professional face of Marlow Rugby Club to most of the outside world; and being the glue holding everything together by astute anticipation; and bailing the club out when the unexpected did slip through the net and tripped them up. The club’s Management Committee recognises the exceptional contribution that Linda has made to the club, and it unanimously recommended that Linda be awarded Honorary Life Membership of our Club. This recommendation needs to be ratified at the Club’s next AGM in May, so Linda’s name is not yet on the Honours Board in their clubhouse. When her name is added to the Board, Linda will become our first female Honorary Life Member.

and how popular it has been since launch in October, Sport Newcastle has awarded the Magpies a grant of £500 towards new equipment." We're really grateful for the support,'' said coach Steve Beaty. "The response since we started has been fantastic with so many local children keen to get involved. “We've found there is a wide range of abilities across the players, with some newer to the sport needing to build their confidence in some parts of the game. This grant therefore will allow us to buy specialist equipment to aid their development and ensure they can develop and enjoy their rugby league."

Another 3 year deal with Krusada

At the recent Burns Night Supper at the club (organised by Linda), many club members were able to express their appreciation when the club presented Linda with mementos of her time with Marlow Rugby Club.

Newcastle Magpies receive support from leading local sport charity Sports Newcastle, whose patrons are Sir John Hall and Alan Shearer, supports individuals and young people across Tyne & Wear. Whether backing community projects or local clubs, elite international athletes or individuals of regional repute, they aim to promote success through sport. Having heard about the plans for the club

Teignbridge Trojans RLFC is delighted to announce a deal with their current kit supplier, Krusada Teamwear that will see them wear the Krusada brand for the next 3 years. This will include a new playing kit for the 2021/22 seasons, Krusada stash for player memberships and an online club shop that will open soon allowing players and supporters the opportunity to purchase

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Trojans Teamwear. Having been impressed with their current playing kit and the overall range available the club very much look forward to continuing to work with Krusada to help promote the brand along with Trojans and the club thanks them for their support.

Adair becomes new title sponsor of Old Emanuel Women’s Rugby team

board as the title sponsor of Old Emanuel RFC Women’s 1st XV. Their enthusiasm and support is key to helping us recruit and develop the next generation of female rugby players in South London over the coming years.” Justin Sullivan, Managing Director, Adair says “We are very excited to sponsor Old Emanuel Women’s Rugby Club’s Women’s team. Rugby is one of the fastest growing team sports for Women in England and we are proud to support the team to help them achieve their goals. I am also particularly proud as I attended Emanuel from the age of 11 to 18!”

Shaw Cross Sharks partner with MND Association as 2020 charity Adair Chartered Surveyors and Construction Consultants has become the new title sponsor of Old Emanuel Rugby Club’s Women’s 1st XV team. Adair will be supporting kit and equipment provisions to help grow and develop the team for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons. Adair and Old Emanuel’s partnership mirrors wider efforts in the country to increase participation in the women's game through World Rugby’s global campaign 'Try and Stop Us'. The number of registered female players in the UK has risen by 28% to 2.7 million since 2017 with more girls playing rugby than boys in the past two years. Old Emanuel RFC Chairman Justin Latta said: “We are delighted to welcome Adair on

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The club will be helping raise awareness of the disease, and the good work of the charity, as well as adding a fundraising event to the club calendar. The MND Association was founded in 1979 by a group of volunteers with experience of living with or caring for someone with MND. They are the only national charity in England, Wales and Northern Ireland focused on MND care, research and campaigning. They improve care and support for people with MND, their families and carers. They fund and promote research that leads to new understanding and treatments, and brings us closer to a cure for MND. MND campaigns and raise awareness so the needs


of people with MND and everyone who cares for them are recognised and addressed by wider society. About motor neurone disease (MND): - MND is a fatal, rapidly progressing disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. - It attacks the nerves that control movement so muscles no longer work. MND does not usually affect the senses such as sight, sound, feeling etc. - It can leave people locked in a failing body, unable to move, talk and eventually breathe. - Over 80% of people with MND will have communication difficulties, including for some, a complete loss of voice. - It affects people from all communities.  - Around 35% of people with MND experience mild cognitive change, in other words, changes in thinking and behaviour. A further 15% of people show signs of frontotemporal dementia which results in more pronounced behavioural change. - It kills a third of people within a year and more than half within two years of diagnosis. - A person’s lifetime risk of developing MND is around 1 in 300. - Six people per day are diagnosed with MND in the UK. - It affects up to 5,000 adults in the UK at any one time. - It kills six people per day in the UK, this is just under 2,200 per year. - It has no cure. Club Chairman Brett Turner said "After the news that's recently shook Rugby League regarding Rob Burrow, we felt that we should do our bit for the cause. This horrible disease has had an effect on a number of people in our sport, including Nick Smith formerly of Siddall and Lee Newton from Skirlaugh, and going back to local man Mark

Burgess, father of the Burgess boys: Luke, Sam, Tom and George." "We will be producing a warm-up top for 2020 which will be available for purchase, with a donation from each shirt going to MND Association, as well as a fundraiser in the summer, details of which will follow."

CEO Sleep Out - raising funds for the homeless Harrogate RUFC Director of Rugby David Doherty, along with other club members took part in the CEO Sleep Out to raise awareness and funds to support the homeless in the club’s community. On 12th March at Stratstone Stadium club members slept rough for the night to raise as much money as possible to help Harrogate’s homeless get back on their feet, not only by providing immediate support but for their long term future. Here are the reasons why some have chose to take part: David Doherty (Director of Rugby HRUFC): “Harrogate Rugby Club are passionate about caring for our community and helping people achieve their potential. For various different reasons people find themselves in the very difficult position of having to sleep rough. This is an incredibly challenging position not just in terms of the immediate needs of shelter, warmth, food and money but also the psychological strain. We aim to help provide some hope and support for those struggling, so they can regain control of their situation.

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This is my second outing, I slept out back in November with 3 other participants including Helen (Harrogate Homeless shelter- main beneficiary), Erika (local business owner) and Martin Corbett (HRUFC Junior parent) who raised over £11,000 for their efforts.” Gareth Barber (MD at BMI Duchy): “Our input is two fold. Personally there are a higher than normal percentage of ex soldiers/armed forces that are homeless. Having served in the forces it’s a big issue for me personally and especially from the mental health perspective. From the BMI Duchy perspective our input is in helping people to improve their health and wellbeing.” Ralph Zoing (Director at HWM): “There are many reasons why people end up homeless. One common reason is as a result of a relationship breakdown. It can happen to anyone and the consequences can be catastrophic. At the same time during the inclement months it is a great time to highlight their plight and raise awareness.”

Clubs pull together to make Spring Festival happen Camberley RFC beat the weather and opened their doors to seven local rugby clubs as they hosted their annual spring rugby festival. The final decision to go ahead was made early Sunday morning following the previous day's call to action requiring a total club effort to drain the pitches which

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included pitch forks, buckets and wellies. Camberley’s rugby family were rewarded with a glorious day of sunshine and enough ‘dry’ ground to welcome over a 1000 Surrey and Hampshire young players ranging from u7s to u10s.

With an army of club volunteers including members of the senior men and women sections, SCRUFFs and Academy working together with their awesome festival team, Rhiannon Kempson and Liz Noble put in the all important extra hours to reschedule timings with the visiting clubs. With a later KO and a true club effort, working together the festival was on. The event was supported by a handful of VIPs sharing in the fun and enjoyment of the players and parents home and visiting. This season Camberley RFC adopted @George and the Giant Pledge as their club charity and it was an honour to have George and his family, Vicky Woody join them for the day raising awareness of childhood cancer and fund-raising for the Royal Marsden. George joined local dignitaries Surrey Heath Mayor Cllr Robin Perry and his wife, Brett Heron from Harlequins and a surprise special guest, Eddie Jones to give out the players medals. Not forgetting Camberley Club Chairman Harry Fish and Cyril the


Squirrel. The club is thankful to all of those that chose to spend time making it a memorable day for the young players.

New Director of Rugby at Shelford Rugby Club

They received great feedback on the day from players, parents and coaches and were complimented on a smooth, efficient, fun festival. With some visiting teams even taking to social media to thank them! It was a great day for local rugby and a joy to see so many happy children and parents enjoying a sunny Sunday of rugby. Clubs in attendance were Alton, Chobham, Effingham & Leatherhead, Farnham, Cranleigh, Haslemere and Reading Abbey.

Beverley Braves receive equipment from the RFL Rugby World Cup Capital Grants Programme The Braves have received a welcome investment just months after moving into their new Clubhouse. The RFL Rugby World Cup Capital Grants Programme has provided the Braves with post pads, tackle shields, tackle bags and balls plus much more following the awarding of almost £7,000. Hull FC's Scott Taylor visited the Braves to meet some of the younger players and see the new Clubhouse and equipment first hand.

Shelford Rugby Club is delighted to announce that Will Cotterill is now the club's full time Director of Rugby and has signed a long term contract. Will has been a brilliant addition to the club since his arrival in August as RDO, and in a relatively short period of time has already made a massively positive contribution across all areas of the club and it's burgeoning community rugby outreach programme. His integrity, professionalism and energy has been infectious and they’re very pleased and excited that he's decided to continue his association with the club. Will is an important part of the club's continuing drive and ambition to develop and make many improvements both on and off the pitch.Will said: "Firstly, I am very grateful for your faith in me and your offer for me to take on the Director of Rugby role at Shelford. I stand by what I have always said, that the club has a lot of great people involved with it who have made me and my family feel so

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welcome since arriving from Australia. It will be an absolute pleasure and an honour to lead the rugby program at the club and to play my part in what is going to be a very exciting few years both on and off the field.

Folkestone Rugby Club appoint Daniel Pitkin

We have the building blocks for developing a sustainable and successful National League Club and I am looking forward to bringing those blocks together and helping to build something great."

Gateshead Storm announce Profectionery as sponsor

Gateshead Storm would like to thank Profectionery for their sponsorship for the 2020 season. Profectionery is a new local business based in South Shields aiming to provide cleaner, alternative treats, all made with no refined sugars! They will appear as a sleeve sponsor on the 2020 1st team kit that will make its way around the country in division 3 of the National Conference League.

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Garry Finnis, Club chairman, said: “Daniel will take up the role of Youth Chairman with immediate effect. We are delighted to have Daniel on board at the Club, he brings with him the energy and drive we need to focus and develop our Youth Section going forward, Daniel will work closely with our Director of Rugby, our Girls and Ladies section and the County to deliver best rugby practice across the Club. I am sure he will receive the full support of everyone at the Club and I wish him all the best in his new role.” Daniel, his wife and family moved to Folkestone in August 2018, his daughters Elsie and Mabel are currently playing this season at under 10 and under 8 respectively, both started playing in the minis section at Folkestone RFC in September 2018. For the 2019/20 season, he has been helping out coaching the under 8’s and his wife Rachel is parent rep for the under 8’s and now the under 10’s age group. Daniel and his family have all been welcomed by the club and have made some good friends. He has welcomed the opportunity to help in any way he can with developing the mini and youth section, while also developing his own coaching and leadership skills.


Chinnor youngsters name new club mascot

“We had a lot of entries beginning with ‘F’ and some very creative ones too. Thank you to everyone who entered, we very much enjoyed reading them.“It was a tough decision, but the winning entry was Louis’s from our U11 team.”

East London RFC thanks sponsors

Chinnor RFC Thame’s youngsters have helped to name the club’s new mascot. The Falcon was on show for the first time at the home game against Old Elthamians in February. And from now on, thanks to our thriving youth section, you will be able to call it by its name – Frankie! All age groups were invited to send in their submissions and the judges were inspired by Under 11 player Louis’s suggestion as we went with Frankie the Falcon. Youth Secretary Emma Canter said: “As a club we have more than 350 children playing rugby on a weekly basis - all wearing the Chinnor Falcon on their shirt. “Running a competition for our Youth section to name our fantastic new first-team matchday mascot seemed like a great way to inspire potential future first team players. “ We had submissions from across the age groups, as well as our Club Coaching Coordinator (Thanks Alex Bond!)

Two more sponsors of East London RFC have been thanked publicly for their generous support of the club. Former players Norman Evans and Jack Topping were presented with a selection of club merchandise by Chairman Simon Crick. Both are also entitled to a free beer at each home game and a free seat at the annual Chairman's Lunch. Norman is a long-standing friend of the club and has supported through a bond scheme while Jack and the Topping family purchased the final £300 shirt on the club’s shirt sponsors board, which offers a unique opportunity for individuals and businesses to offer the club much needed financial support. Chairman Simon Crick said: "We thank Norman and Jack for their generosity. The sponsors board has proved particularly popular for former players to sponsor their old shirt numbers or for families of current players to get involved.” “Running a rugby club is an expensive business these days and we cannot rely on match fees and membership fees alone so we have to be creative in how we raise vital funds. We thank all those sponsors who have signed up for the scheme."

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From the professional game... Toronto Wolfpack to work with Rugby League Cares Toronto Wolfpack has partnered with Rugby League Cares to be the Official Game Day Charity Partner for the home clash against St Helens on Saturday, May 2. A far-reaching charity aiming to enrich lives through the positive influence of sport, Rugby League Cares will be in attendance at Lamport Stadium for the game as they prepare to embark on the fundraising adventure of a lifetime: The Empire State 500.

Harlequins Foundations launches Sport Value Bank The Harlequins Foundation has helped launch the Sport Value Bank. It allows sporting organisations to assess and record the social impact.

RFU suspend all rugby activity in England Following government advice, the RFU will suspend all rugby activity in England, at both professional and community level.Rugby activity includes club training, league and cup matches plus rugby education courses from 17 March until 14 April subject to continued review.The decision has been taken following government advice in the interests of players, coaches, referees, volunteers, supporters and the wider rugby union community.  

RFU Statement: Funding for Greene King IPA Championship

State investment of €20m in Sportsground redevelopment for Connacht Rugby

Aggregate funding will amount to approximately £288,000 per club and represents a return to the levels of funding prior to the 2016 – 2020 cycle.

The Government has announced a total of €20m to Connacht Rugby’s Sportsground redevelopment project. The €10m allocated under the Large Scale Sports Infrastructure (LSSIF) has been matched with a further €10m commitment, as announced by Government Chief Whip Sean Kyne T.D. Mr Kyne said: “the economic significance of the Sportsground redevelopment to the wider West of Ireland region.

As previously, elements of this funding will be ringfenced and increased for player medical insurance and be conditional on meeting England Qualified Player (EQP) targets.

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Rugby Blindside Newsletter - Spring 2020 Issue  

News stories from the grassroots community.

Rugby Blindside Newsletter - Spring 2020 Issue  

News stories from the grassroots community.

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