North West champions opt for summer
Reigning North West Counties Premier Division Champions Bank Quay Bulls are one of the many community Rugby League clubs that have expressed an interest in the new summer-based North West Regional League.
The RFL have received a great amount of interest from clubs in the North West such as Bank Quay, Widnes St Maries and Hindley for the new competition which will start in March 2012 with an interim season to be played from September 2011 to November 2011.
John Barry from Bank Quay Bulls said: “There are better playing conditions in the summer and with the juniors also going across to summer I think we will see a big increase in the number of players coming through over the next few years.
“The progression pathway is also important to us because we are ambitious, we’ve won regional leagues and are waiting for our facilities to be improved so we would be able to progress and look at Tier 3.
“At the moment a lot of teams are looking at each other to see who is going to move over, there are already a lot of big clubs in Tier 3 but now we are seeing big clubs in Tier 4 move across too.
“I think there is a bit of short sightedness at the moment with people worrying about what the competition will be like in the interim season and the first season and wondering if they should wait a year, personally I think it will be fine.
“Playing in this season structure will bring us into line with both the professional game and the junior game so there are a huge number of big positives.
“Alongside this there are the added benefits such as player’s families coming along to games to watch games in better conditions and increased revenue brought in from more spectators."
Barry Taylor, Club Co-ordinator at Hindley said: “We think that there will be a better level of competition, as we’ve been promoted for the last three seasons almost undefeated.
“The other key factor is streamlining the open age section with the junior section as it isn’t possible for volunteers and staff to work 12 months of the year. We share facilities with a cricket team but this isn’t an issue as we can iron out any problems.
“It will be easier for administration and we are expecting an increase in revenue and also in participation as we expect to see retention rates improve with less younger players leaving the sport and instead progressing into open age summer rugby.
Another club which has expressed an interest in the new North West Regional League is Widnes St Maries who will be looking at bringing both of their teams across.
John Borrowman from Widnes St Maries said: “The club wants to compete in a summer-based competition and as such we have submitted an expression of interest for our 1st and 2nd teams to join the North West Men’s League.
“We have high ambitions and want to be competing against the best that the region has to offer.
“I’d therefore urge any North West Men’s teams who are thinking of joining this Tier 4 league to submit their Expressions of Interest as soon as possible. This way clubs can begin to see the number and standard of teams who have expressed a desire to be part of this exciting new league structure.”
The RFL-run North West Regional League will sit at Tier 4 of Rugby League’s pyramid structure below Super League, the Championships and the Conference Leagues and is open to all teams that wish to play in a March to November season structure.
The deadline for Expressions of Interest to be returned to the RFL is June 27 and letters have already been sent out to all community Rugby League teams in the North West.
It is envisaged that the new league structure will consist of a Premier League and as many leagues below this as appropriate to accommodate the number of teams involved.
The league will be made up of North West-based community teams who wish to switch to playing in a March-November season as well as clubs currently playing in the Rugby League Conference.
If you would like any more information please contact North West Regional Manager Matt Birkett on 07841 495062 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org