Yorkshire Juniors vote for summer switch
The Yorkshire Juniors League which is the largest Junior playing league in the country has become the latest competition to embrace the benefits and advantages of playing in summer.
The league which administers Junior Rugby League for over 4,000 players from under-8s to under-15s age groups made the historic decision at their AGM on Monday night to move to a March to November playing season with 46 member clubs voting for the switch and only six against.
Yorkshire Junior League General Secretary Charlie Bray said: “The decision to move to summer rugby has been one of the most important votes the delegates have taken for a long time, this will be the way forward for all Junior Rugby League players.
“There will be some hurdles to get over but I am confident that once the clubs start the new season in 2012 we will sort them out.
“For the few teams that wish to stay in winter rugby we will of course do everything in our power to supply them with fixtures throughout their season.
“The league will also be open to any club or team who wish to play in the summer competition from outside the Yorkshire Juniors.
“As a management we are looking forward to organising the new season and working alongside the other Junior sections that have moved to the summer season as all the different leagues will be running the same rules across the board.
“The transition season from September to November will see a short competition for under-12s to under-15s and will also give us the opportunity to make sure that the teams are put in the correct divisions ready for the start of the 2012 season in March.
“I believe there will be exciting times in the future for Junior Rugby League and I am certainly looking forward to it.”
The Yorkshire Junior League involves 52 clubs and 255 teams from Yorkshire playing in leagues across the under-12, under-13, under-14 and under-15 age groups and non-competitive groups in the under-8s, under-9s, under-10s and under-11s age groups.
They have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the RFL and will run a short transitional competition commencing in September 2011 in preparation for the full summer season which kicks off in March 2012.
The Memorandum of Understanding sets out the basis upon which the League will work with the RFL in order to manage this transition.
The RFL’s Director of Participation and Strategic Partnerships, David Gent said: “We’re delighted that the Yorkshire Juniors League has voted to switch to a March to November playing season.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the League to increase the number of young people playing Rugby League in Yorkshire as well as improving the environment for those already involved in the sport.”
The overriding aims of switching to a March to November playing season and agreeing the Memorandum of Understanding are to increase the number of individuals participating in Rugby League and to develop strong clubs.
Other objectives include improving the environment in which the game is played, increasing the profile of the sport and giving everyone the opportunity to achieve their potential.
These aims will be achieved through having a co-ordinated approach to a new competition framework and having an agreed playing calendar between March to November.
This co-ordinated approach also covers issues such as complying with RFL official rules and policies on issues such as safeguarding and respect, adopting competition rules as agreed by the Leagues and having appropriately qualified coaches.