Volunteers from Upper Eden RUFC turned out to get the club ready for the return of rugby at the annual NatWest RugbyForce day last weekend.
Each year, NatWest RugbyForce weekend calls on rugby players, volunteers and supporters across the country to help get their local club facilities into shape, ready to welcome back the community ahead of the new season, and this year, for a return to play, as clubs continue to contend with uncertainty throughout the current COVID-19 crisis.
Willing volunteers from both the men’s team and women’s team and other club supporters worked together to deep clean the Upper Eden’s club house and changing rooms, tidy the grounds, carry out repairs and repaint the goalposts.
After a day’s hard graft, the volunteers were joined by other club members to celebrate the previous season at the annual Captain’s Night, which included awards presentation and a BBQ, and was held in accordance with government social distancing guidelines, making the event a little different to previous years.
Despite not being able to tie up the last season as a result of coronavirus, the club still celebrated their successes, and recognised individual players who had made a significant contribution in 2019/20.
This month, the RFU confirmed that the game had now moved to Stage D of the Return to Community Rugby Roadmap, which means that limited and adapted contact activity can now be included in training sessions, and inter-club touch rugby fixtures are allowed. However, there is still no confirmation about when full contact match play will be allowed to take place.
Upper Eden Club Chairman, Neil Marston, said: “It was great to see such a strong turnout of volunteers for RugbyForce day, which just goes to show how committed our members are. It’s been a difficult few months and we know how disappointed our players were not to be able to finish the season, and how eager they are to get back to playing proper rugby, but we must continue to be patient and focus our energy on being primed and ready for when rugby activity can eventually get underway.
“In the meantime, I want to thank all our volunteers working behind the scenes, who give up their time to ensure that Upper Eden RUFC can continue to provide opportunities for everyone in our community to get involved in rugby.”