That was the (long!) year that was…
- Three different competitions
- 50 games
- And almost 50 different players!
- Winter, summer and winter again…
That is a lot of rugby! In fact, it has been a ridiculously long spell of playing. The open age began their current period of training in June 2010! Played Valentine Cup games from July that year, then friendlies into the NWC that September. We’ve been training for an unbelievable 18 months straight!
Which leads to two of the most important things to say…
First and foremost, a huge thankyou to everyone that’s been involved whether it has been for one game or every game and whether it’s been off the field or on. We’ve asked a lot of people over that period of time and it’s a credit to everyone that we are still going on, probably stronger for 2012.
Second – it’s time to have a break – at least, from the playing side. The open age league starts in April 2012 and although there will be a pre-season tournament in March, we’ve elected not to enter that. As a group, we deserve a break and that is what we will have until February at least. There may be a few touch and pass sessions arranged but that is it – we need everyone fit, and raring to go to make a real impression next year.
On the pitch. . .
On the pitch the 2010/11 NWC season was easily our best since we were set up. We eventually finished mid-table but in February we won three away games on the bounce and recorded our first double over another side when we beat Westhoughton at their place. The fact that that followed a 44 – 4 thumping of our other rivals Bolton showed that we were by now the strongest of the Bury and Bolton sides and we were able to push on and get our second double by beating Newton away in March.
By the summer, we had a lot of new faces on board as a few ‘kick & clappers’ gave rugby league a try. However, apart from a win away at Cobras, the summer was a fragmented affair as new people learnt the game. That inconsistency stayed with us into the interim season and unfortunately it was more of the same (although another win against Bolton was a welcome relief!).
What has been good however is that we’ve started to see some younger faces come on board. OK, we might have fielded the oldest pack in the history of rugby league at Chester away in September, but there are more younger lads around now than in summer 2010, and that’s been one of the biggest things we’ve needed to encourage.
Off the pitch. . .
It seems years ago but it was only in advance of the 2010 winter season that we moved to Philips High. Those who remember playing at Derby High will know that facilities were not great and moving to Philips has been a big help.
Alongside that, Ryan L came on board a Secretary and Billy took on the coaching and it’s important that people don’t forget how much work is actually involved in those roles. There are others helping out behind the scenes too, especially setting juniors up, so thanks a lot to them too...
For 2012, we’ll have a new kit sponsored by RLFANS.COM (make sure you register on their site and use our forums on there by the way!). Once again we will be making a big effort to recruit new players.
From speaking to people everyone seems to know ‘someone’ who wants to play – instead of just knowing them 2012 will be the time to actually drag them down. By switching to summer we will not be competing with a lot of other local sport so it’s an ideal time to get them involved. We’ll be looking to get an outside coach involved, we’ve kids almost ready to go (and yes, they are tackling better than some on the open age already!) and we will once again have the best kit about – but it constantly needs that bit of extra commitment from everyone about the place.
If you know someone who might want to sponsor the kit, let me know now(!), if you’ve a mate who fancies playing – tell them to come down, and if a family member or friend wants to get involved off the pitch, then tell them to get in-touch. 2012 could be a really good year for us…lets get everyone we know involved!
(PS. Yes, we will be doing a Christmas pub crawl…Friday, December 23rd starting in the Robert Peel, Bury by 7.30pm)