The 2019 season has been something of a roller coaster for Chester Gladiators, reflecting the challenges facing both community clubs and rugby league in general.
The club should be pleased its achievements this season and there are lots of reasons to be optimistic about the future of rugby league in Chester, indeed it is with a great sense of pride that we have now completed our 11th season.
What began as a single open age team, has grown into a vibrant club with more than 120 active members. The club's operating model and governance need updating to reflect this growth and a working group has been set up to explore this with a view to becoming a member-owned club.
The need for more volunteers to become involved in the running of the club is greater than ever too. If you are passionate about the Gladiators and want to help, we would love to hear from you. Whatever time you can spare will be appreciated and there is a wide range of roles to be filled as we look to the future.
Below we have summarised the key accomplishments and challenges for each section in 2019 and your ideas and comments about these are always welcome. As members, whether a player, coach, volunteer, parent or supporter, you are Chester Gladiators and the club needs you to help it move forwards.
Thank you for being part of it
Jim Green, Chairman and Paul Foster, Vice Chairman
It has been a testing campaign for the open age side with player availability and injuries impacting on results, however we welcomed 23 new players through the season and there was an excellent spirit within the squad. The past couple of seasons have been a period of transition for the open age section and the work of Paul Foster, Mark Parry and senior players in managing this has been first class. We have the nucleus of an excellent squad and a collective effort is needed to improve commitment and matchday support to give the team the best possible chance of success in 2020.
The junior section now has more than 60 active members including 23 new to the club this season and 14 who have now completed four seasons with the club, which bodes well for the future. The club has a clear ethos balancing fun, development and competition which continues to work well. Recruitment has been difficult for the younger age groups and unfortunately a lack of players meant the club did not run an U13s or U15s side in 2019, however the U11s and U12s welcomed a number of new recruits and benefit from active support from parents. There is huge potential within the junior section and the club will be aiming to increase coaching resources and focus on recruitment in preparation for 2020.
New for this season, the Masters section has been a real success with 20 players representing the club including several having their first experience of rugby league. The feedback from players has been overwhelmingly positive with the team attending 10 fixtures and festivals. The ambitions for 2020 will be to grow the squad, provide an improved training programme and organise at least four home fixtures for the team as well as a tour fixture.
The growth of the Touch Rugby League has been really positive, providing an excellent introduction to the club and rugby league for players of all ages and abilities. Ben Follows deserves great credit for his efforts in managing the sessions, which will be continuing through the winter at Chester RUFC. The ethos of fun and fitness ensures an inclusive environment and the club will continue to promote these sessions as a means of attracting new members who may not wish to play traditional rugby league.
Join us for 2020
Whether you want to play, coach or volunteer in an off-field role, Chester Gladiators would be delighted to welcome you to our club for the 2020 season. We are a friendly, inclusive club committed to providing opportunities for everyone to participate in the sport of rugby league, regardless of age, ability or experience. For more details email email@example.com.