As we partake in the second national lockdown, many rugby clubs, players and supporters will be wondering when the sport they love can resume once more.
Stone Rugby Club prepared in length for their return to the RFU League System for the 2020/21 season but because of the coronavirus pandemic are yet to take to the pitch once again.
Head of Senior Rugby Tom Hughes talked to Sport in Staffs about how tough this has been for his squad.
“It’s really devastating we aren’t out there playing,” he said. “The front five lads and us older players aren’t necessarily enjoying this touch as much as we would have a normal game.
“So it’s a blow. We would have been fielding two full senior men’s sides and a senior ladies team.”
The 36-year-old went on to explain how the club had prepared for the new campaign during the off-season.
“It’s been an interesting season for Stone. We made some big changes from the previous season including appointing a new captain and we also implemented a new committee structure which has worked well.
“We brought in some really exciting players to the club, so it’s been frustrating that we haven’t had the chance to show what we can do.
“During the graded returns we ran three fitness sessions a week for the seniors and they were superbly attended by over 30 different ladies and 50 different senior men’s which was great. So we tried to make the most of the situation we were in.”
He said he was hopeful that “amended law friendlies against local clubs” could be a possibility at some point in 2021.
Despite the perils of the pandemic, Hughes stated that Stone Rugby Club are in a good enough position to survive financially.
“Financially it’s not hit the club as hard as others as a result of not having huge outgoings and having increased our membership.
“We are still looking to build a brand new eight-changing-room clubhouse for the start of next season which will be the next step in allowing us to grow as a team and as a business.”
Hughes, who is now in his second season at Stone, continued to outline the positives that his club could take from this unprecedented year.
“Good training numbers, outstanding ladies section,” he stated.
“[We’ve had] Time to embed new structures, good social media [and the] opportunity to fund raise get sponsors.”
Stone have been placed into the RFU Midlands 5 West (South) division for the upcoming campaign and have been put into ‘Conference B’ alongside Atherstone, Bloxwich, Cannock, Keresley and St Leonard’s, which you can read more about here.
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