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Saturday, 20 September 2014

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Amateur clubs ponder new county league

PLANS to shake up the amateur rugby league set-up across Cumbria have been put to Barrow and District clubs.

AMATEUR RL

A proposal to join five teams from the south of the county with five from the west in a new division is being considered by Furness sides.

Under the arrangement each side would leave their current set-up to join the new division.

Barrow Island, Ulverston, Walney Central, Roose Pioneers and Dalton have shown varying degrees of interest. It is hoped the move will put an end to frequent problems with teams from outside the area failing to travel to games in South Cumbria, with four of the sides currently in the North West Men’s League and Dalton in the winter North West Counties.

Ulverston went close to a month this summer without a game because of such problems, while the other teams involved in the proposals have each had issues to some extent.

Barrow Island spokesman John Jefferson said he was strongly in favour of the move, feeling it would provide stronger local competition and an increased number of derby matches.

“All these teams who are going out of town every other week now, would get at least four local derbies home and away each season,” said Jefferson, whose team are the highest-ranked of the Barrow and District sides, playing in the North West Men’s League Premier Division.

“We are not so bad, because we do get teams travelling in the Premier Division, but if you look at the divisions below, a lot of them are getting their home games called off with teams not coming up.

“I think it’s a must. I know it’s still travelling, but if you have the likes of Barrow Island against Walney, home and away, Dalton home and away, it would be great.

“If you look at the Barton Townley Cup, no matter what division you are in, there’s not there much between the teams.”

Proposals were put to Barrow and District League members at the last league meeting, with clubs asked to take them to their members.

Each will decide individually on whether they feel the move is viable, less than 12 months after the majority held similar votes on a move to summer rugby.

Millom and Askam are not thought to be involved as they play in the higher-level National Conference, where there are fewer problems with fixtures being unfulfilled. Of the teams in the North West Men’s League, Hindpool are the only one believed to have already ruled out the move, feeling they are still developing in the summer game.

Clubs have been asked to respond to the plans at the next Barrow and District League meeting on Monday, November 12.

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