“We can rebuild and come back stronger” says Shotton Steel RFC after being forced to drop two divisions
“We can rebuild and come back stronger” – that was the message coming from Shotton Steel RFC on Friday following the devastating news the rugby club will have to drop two divisions for the upcoming season.
The club, which has been around for nearly half a century, won promotion to Division 1 North at the end of last season but has been hit a series of blows which has left the Rowleys Drive based outfit short of experienced players.
— Shotton Steel RFC (@shottonrugby) August 3, 2018
Officials wrote to governing bodies, Wales Rugby Union and the North Wales Rugby Union Council asking if the team could stay in Division 2 North, the league they played in so successfully last season due to a “rapid decline” in the number of players at the club.
The first team lost 13 players in the close season due to retirement, injury, work and family commitments and has only managed to attract one new player.
“The majority of our side work shifts so we can’t always guarantee a full quota of front row players.”
“We would rather drop out from the league (Division 1 North) now than make a mockery of the league and have to pull out mid season. If we were to do this, we may well be left with no club at all. ” The letter says.
To fill the vacant first team squad positions the club would be forced to field players who have not played against the calibre of teams it will face in Division 1 North.
The club says it has to put player welfare first and “it is unfair to ask inexperienced players to play at a level in which the risks of the suffering serious injury are present.”
Dropping into League Two would allow the team to rotate its current squad of and give players valuable match experience needed to move the higher level.
The club says it is finding it difficult to attract new players and keep hold of former youth and juniors players due impart to “ongoing problems with facilities.”
Tata Steel pulled the plug on funding the Rowleys Drive clubhouse which has since been taken over by a housing repairs social enterprise.
“We are currently undergoing massive change at Rowleys Drive but unfortunately as a result we have lost our club house and changing rooms.” A statement says.
Shotton Steel RFC received a response from the WRU stating they could either play in Division One North or be relegated to Division Three North and had until Friday, 3rd August, to confirm which option it had chosen.
Alan Thomas from WRU wrote:
“Your request was discussed by the Union’s Community Rugby Sub Board today.
I have been advised the Sub Board has indicated the options open to the Club are as follows:-
Accept the place you have earned and compete in Division 1 North next Season or compete in Division 3 North next Season.
I have been further advised the Club will have to inform the Union of it’s decision by 12 noon on Friday 3rd August. ”
The club has been left with no other option than to play in Division Three North next season.
Alan Leamon Chairman of Shotton Steel RFC said:
“This decision grieves us as a district club with all the hard work that has been put in by the players and committee of Shotton Steel RFC.
We were hoping that the WRU would be more understanding of our plight at Shotton, which has been totally out of our control, however we will continue to fulfil our fixtures in division 3 next season.”
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