Given the challenging times we are all in, sport in general has (quite rightly) been relegated to relatively minor importance. However, as a Committee, we are being asked a lot of questions on Club-related issues and I wanted to provide an update as to where we are with some of these.
As we are all aware, Covid-19 has had a dramatic effect on sport worldwide. Most major sporting events have been cancelled or postponed and the RFU has announced that all except the very highest level of club rugby has been cancelled for the rest of the 2019/20 season. The RFU have now confirmed that our 1st XV have finished 5th in Kent One, which is a tremendous achievement in our first season in this higher league. Our 2nd XV enjoyed a solid return to league competition and our Ladies XV continued to train hard and develop their skills.
As a Club, we are following advice from the Government, RFU and Kent Rugby in terms of every aspect of Club life. We have made and communicated clear decisions around training, playing and socialising, which has resulted in:
-All Club training being cancelled until further notice.
-Our annual tour being cancelled.
-Our annual dinner and Captains vs Presidents end of season match have been postponed.
We hope to rearrange these for later in 2020. This will be reviewed as the current situation unfolds and we will update you when we have further news.
The other major challenge this season has been our continued inability to use our spiritual home “The Lodge”. The Committee has been working tirelessly to manage and expedite a resolution to this extremely disappointing situation. Originally, Swale Borough Council (SBC) had planned to complete their work in time for us to move back into The Lodge for the start of the 2019/20 season. This deadline was obviously missed by SBC, as were a number of subsequently planned completion dates. Communication with SBC has been challenging, to say the least, and has resulted in our being unable to effectively plan for re-occupation. Progress over recent weeks offered a ray of hope that SBC’s works had entered the final stages, but now Covid-19 will result in further delays. We will continue to work hard to resolve this situation and are hopeful that we will be able to re-occupy The Lodge before the beginning of the 2020/21 season.
On behalf of the whole Club, I would like to extend a massive “thank you” to everybody at The Castle pub at Oare. This season, The Castle really has been our home from home on matchdays. Stephanie and her team have provided our Club and opposition players and supporters with delicious post-match food and given us a social hub. When life returns to normal, I would encourage you all to go to The Castle for a drink or a meal. You won’t be disappointed!
Last, but by no means least, I would like to thank our Club Sponsors. In normal times, their support helps the Club to cover our running costs and maintain a healthy financial position. However, this season has been anything but normal. Given our inability to generate any revenue at The Lodge and now Covid-19, I really do mean it when I say that the generosity of our Club Sponsors has been a key factor in the very survival of the Club. Details of our Club Sponsors appear on our website and I would encourage you all to take a look and try to utilise and support these companies wherever possible.
Please look after yourselves, your families and those around you.
07 Apr 2020
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