End of Season Message
As the season draws to a close, we can reflect on the relative positive position we have following the ravages of the pandemic.’
Not all is positive as the numbers of male players have reduced resulting in the loss of players in most clubs, referees are not returning to the game and Camelford RFC has fallen by the wayside. However, this is more than balanced by the welcome surge in women and girls taking up rugby, age group numbers clearly holding and probably the most important of all the well being and positive spirit in most of the Clubs I have visited during the season.
The season recently completed was the first season to admit the lower teams in Clubs and it certainly changed the attitude of some of the Clubs in the lower leagues. The entrance of 2nd XVs into the leagues was feared by these Clubs as they expected to lose players to the Clubs with 1st XVs in higher leagues as well as suffering heavy defeats to these 2nd XVs. It did not happen, with these lower Clubs probably gaining in numbers as players realised the 2nd Teams were not as strong as they thought and could be and were beaten.
Many congratulations to the following Clubs that have gained promotion: Camborne, St Austell, St Ives, Perranporth and St Just RFCs. Congratulations also to Helston Women in winning their league and to those that did not advance, enjoy the new season. I must mention two Clubs that fulfilled all their league matches and lost every one but each Saturday they gave 30+ guys a game of rugby. Thank you Falmouth and Redruth Albany RFCs and I can but hope that one or two certain Clubs in Cornwall follow their excellent example.
Women and Girl’s Rugby goes from strength to strength with playing numbers increasing and our 5 league clubs more than holding their own. Total integration into the CRFU is progressing well but more work needs to be done by helping with coaching and refereeing.
The Papa Johns Cup whilst being poorly administrated, owing to a strange decision to base some of the matches on final league positions, gave Clubs the chance to play new opponents in areas not normally visited. Perhaps it should be given a second season.
It was not to be for our three County Championship Teams but it was not for the want of trying, they wore the Black and Gold of Cornwall with pride and we thank them. The Men’s XV won their first two matches but lost to Kent RFU in their final pool match, the eventual Bill Beaumont Cup winners. The Women’s XV reached the semi-final of Gill Burns Cup Division 2 but lost to the eventual Division 2 winners, Hampshire RFU, whilst the U20 XV reached the quarter finals of the Jason Leonard Cup. Congratulations to all three XVs and I know they are already looking forward to next season. Our sponsors must be thanked as many of the match arrangements could not take place without their generosity.
The CRFU remains strong in most areas and is highly thought of at all levels of the game mainly as a result of good relations between our Clubs and the Management Board. However, a reduction of £40k in our reserves in the last 3-4 years, mainly as a result of a return to the level of funding for Representative Rugby before the pandemic, gives a strong warning that there needs to be a rebalancing of costs. Unfortunately, the greatly reduced funding from the RFU has meant we cannot continue in the same vein as before.
As I reach the end of my 4 years as President, an extra year for the pandemic, I can but reflect on the honour and joy that it has given me. When I was appointed I advised that I would adopt a theme during my tenure which was “communication” and I have striven to ensure I met this promise. It has been a delight to visit every Club each full season, absorb the vibrancy, meet old and new friends and hopefully help and advise wherever and whenever I could. Many Clubs are heavily dependent on their volunteers and rightly are recognised each season by the CRFU in conjunction with Honda. Awards were made at our two home Men’s Senior matches to these selfless members. Thank you volunteers.
Finally, I must thank David Saunter “Saunts”, fellow Board Members and RFU personnel for their help and support during this period. The CRFU remains in safe hands whilst he and they are present.