Bognor RFC's Road to Rugby's Return

Bognor RFC's Road to Rugby's Return

By Doug Millen
12 June 2020
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Bognor RFC’s committee met on Thursday 11th June, the first non virtual time since the club closed its doors on March 18th.

Having finished the Season prematurely but with ALL the Clubs' teams ending in a strong position, both in numbers and in league rankings, we are keen to pick up where we left off !

Senior teams are entered in the Hampshire leagues. The Premiership, where the 1st XV will be pushing for promotion this season, with the Royals, 3rd XV and Vets following them along the M27 and over the County boarder to seek out their rugby fill !!

The Club is looking to extend it's facilities to house the growing number of both male and female players, now running age grade teams at every age from U6-U16, two girls teams at U13 and U15 and are looking to once again recruit woman players seeking a fun and cheap way to get fit after lockdown ends !

Senior player numbers are strong with over 30 Colts having transitioned into all 3 Senior teams and Mini & Youth numbers growing all the time !!

The RFU has announced a national roadmap to support a return to community rugby activity.

This roadmap consists of six stages, Stage A relating to individual training with one other person, moving through to Stage F when there can be a return to competitive matches against other teams. We are currently at Stage B following the government’s announcement of 28th May.

Timescales to allow progression between stages will be carefully managed and will be determined by medical and government advice. Regular updates will be issued by the RFU, along with detailed guidance, as each progression takes place.
“A great amount of work has been undertaken since rugby was suspended in March to align the various stages of social distancing announced by the government with our decision making focused on the best interests of players, volunteers and clubs," said RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney.

The club will follow this advice and implement guidelines and procedures to ensure that we comply with this.

Previously, the RFU has communicated that it was OK for small family groups (people from the same household) to use pitches for their own personal training. This was Stage A of the Roadmap. We have now moved to Stage B, which is allowing groups of up to 6 people (including a coach/manager/trainer) to train together, as long as they adhere to a number of requirements, including Social distancing.

At Bognor RFC we feel that it may be safer to wait a while longer during the off season as current restrictions make anything more than fitness training impractical. Hopefully with the predicted easing of lockdown on July 4th it may mean that Bognor RFC’s senior players can make return to Pre Season training on July 16th . We will make an announcement and invite players, new and old back to training as soon as the date is confirmed.

We would, at this time of year, be encouraging all members to take time away from rugby, especially Age Grade players in line with the Age Grade codes of practice, but feel that under the current Social Distancing rules even though groups of up to 6 can train together, we have decided that we will not mandate any training in groups for Bognor RFC members at this time.

As soon as the Government and RFU move us to Stage C, we will issue new guidance.
At the moment, the Club Facilities remain closed, so there is no use of Bars or Changing Rooms. You may be hearing stories of restrictions being relaxed to allow use of the facilities. This is NOT the case at the moment, but you can be sure that your committee is fully aware of what is happening and as soon as it is safe to open and the restrictions are lifted, we will update everyone.

Unlike a lot of other clubs at the moment, we are in a very fortunate position financially. We have no debts, no loans, no outstanding major invoices, the club is run by volunteers (so no wages to pay) and we have built up a contingency fund to hopefully see us through.
With regard loans and the various holidays (rent, utilities etc), we would only be looking at these as a last resort, as all we would be doing is kicking the problem up the field !

I’m pleased and incredibly proud to say that we have not had too many membership cancellations and understand why members may need to cancel during these financially tough times, we urge all members to contact us if this is the case, we would like to help if we can. For those of you that have been able to continue with our already very low subscriptions the Club and Committee would like to thank you all ! It really does help the club survive and will help afford to put some of the new COVID Secure provisions in place.

In the meantime the Club’s efforts, along with sponsors Rainbows Bognor and Regis Removals helped raise a staggering £1588 for NHS Charities through a new special edition shirt issue !!

I think this really does sum up the spirit of Bognor Rugby club and you should be very proud to be a part of such a tight-knit family.
In fact I’ve had a number of people contact me and ask whether we need to set up a fighting fund and them volunteering cash to get it started! Again, incredibly generous and thankfully not required for the foreseeable with the continued membership support.

We will very shortly be undertaking a professionally led COVID risk assessment to enable us to put all the necessary hygiene and safety provisions in place, ready for opening. New standards will be communicated to coaches and players and new signage and PPE equipment will help visitors of all ages feel safe and welcome at Bognor RFC.

Keep Safe ! Stay Healthy !

Yours in Rugby
The Committee (Bognor RFC)

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