Move to stage E
You will have heard by now the good news that rugby union has come out of the most recent lockdown in stage E of the RFU roadmap to match play rugby. Stage E allows us to play 15 a side, full contact rugby against ‘friendly’ opposition using adapted laws. These laws, in summary, ban scrums and mauls. Scrums will be replaced with free kicks and mauls will not be allowed to form in open play or from the line out. Penalties will be awarded against the offending side. Whilst it is not ideal for those who play in the front 5, it is real progress towards getting back to normal. More details, including the opposition we will play in the New Year fixture list is on the website in the article ‘proper rugby back at Macc’.
I am delighted to announce that, courtesy of James Ashbrook, we now have four portable floodlights set up on the back pitch in addition to the fixed floodlights that are already there. This enables the Club to hold more floodlit training on grass which will take pressure off the main pitch and the astro pitch. We are asking the touch rugby group to use this new facility and we will be promoting touch rugby to the wider membership from Thursday 10th December. Our ambition is to develop O2 touch at the Club in the future.
Sin Bin launch
Off the field, look out for the social calendar in the period leading up to Christmas. The Sin Bin Bar has its official opening on Saturday 12th December which will be well attended. The Sin Bin is a fantastic addition to the Club’s hospitality and will, I know, be very popular as the weather improves and the clocks go forward. From humble beginnings as a bar using the grounds teams shed, we now have a semi-permanent structure that is pretty much weatherproof with heating, lighting, TV and furniture and service from a beautifully finished bar. Huge thanks again to everyone involved in making this a reality. Built by the members for the members!
Still on the hospitality front, I must take this opportunity to remind everyone that we remain in tier 2 and that the rules with respect to covid security and safety must be complied with by members if we are to continue operating in a way that keeps everyone safe and the Club compliant. There is a requirement for a ‘substantial’ meal to have been ordered before alcohol can be served, however it has become clear that some individuals have been ordering alcoholic drinks only. This is a breach of the rules and puts the Club in a difficult position. In future table service will be available only and orders for alcohol will only be taken after a food order has been placed for each individual drinking the alcohol. Please do not abuse the rules and place yourself and the Club at risk. There are exceptions for ticketed events and the membership will be notified of these.
The Club will continue to do as much as it can within the guidelines both on and off the field of play as we continue our journey through the pandemic. Earlier in the year we asked everyone to support the Club by paying for the basic membership to enjoy the activities that the Club has been able to provide. I must thank the 415 people who have paid for membership across the whole Club to date. The funds have helped enormously in keeping the Club functioning and in continuing to improve the facilities. I must also thanks to all those season ticket holders who have very kindly donated the cost of their season ticket to the Club. Fantastic generosity. There are a small number of people who use the Club’s facilities on a regular basis, including playing facilities, who are not members of the Club. To those individuals I ask “please pay for your membership of the Club and support us in maintaining and improving the facilities you enjoy.” This season membership cards are available on line when you pay and available from the Club office. Membership cards will be required to be shown in order to receive the benefits of membership including playing as and when adult rugby returns in the New Year.
Volunteer recognition awards
The article ‘proper rugby back at Macc’ on the website also acknowledges the great work done by Matt Bowden and Phil Mason who have been recognised by the Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer Recognition Award Scheme run by the Rugby Football Union. Matt has been awarded the Cheshire Presidents Volunteer award 2020 for his work with Neil Clark of Knutsford RUFC in establishing the MK Blues colts squad that has enabled the U18’s to continue playing despite a shortage of numbers. Phil Mason, Chairman of the Mini/Junior section, has been nominated as the Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer of the Year 2020 for his commitment to the Club and for his great work since becoming Chairman of the section in 2015. Congratulations again to Matt and Phil and to everyone who has played a part in the development of Macclesfield Rugby Club, particularly in the last nine months.
As we approach Christmas and we look forward to the return of competitive rugby in the New Year I would like to thank everyone associated with our Club for whatever you have done to contribute to the wonderful environment we have here at Macclesfield Rugby Club.
Stephen Branch aka Chaos