Rangers pitch in with ground works

SADDLEWORTH Rangers are taking advantage of the enforced break from rugby to lengthen their pitch at Shaw Hall Bank Road.

Rangers has one of the shortest pitches which needs to be extended by about five metres to meet the minimum size of 106 metres.

This is 94m from goal line to goal line plus six metres at each end for the in-goal areas.

Chairman Shane Wilson explained once it became clear there was not going to be any summer rugby, they decided to do the work which will be carried out during August.

U9s return to action

He said: “The land is there behind the bottom sticks – it is just a case of mowing the grass and putting down new markings.

“We will also be putting up new posts and dugouts at the same time.”

Shane is still hoping rugby will return before the end of the year following the latest communication from the Rugby Football League.

The RFL’s plan for a phased return to community rugby league has now been approved by Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The phased return was initially restricted to groups of six while enforcing social distancing.

But from the week commencing Monday, August 10, larger group non-contact training, including touch and tag, was permitted.

This will be reviewed with the hope contact training will be permitted during September and local friendlies in October, but with no scrums.

The RFL is working towards the return of community game leagues from March 1, 2021.

Shane said: “It is all dependent on not having another spike or local lockdown.

“Everyone at Saddleworth Rangers is open to playing friendlies and get the club open again.

“The league won’t resume until next year, but hopefully we will be able to play against local opposition.”

Rangers are continuing to hold virtual training sessions during the week and have field base sessions on a Sunday.

This has been phases and the most recent team to return was the Under-9s and the only ones still to resume are the U7s and tots who will possibly be back this week.

Rangers have been forced to cancel further events to celebrate the club’s 90th birthday which is this year.

They had a September dinner scheduled with RL legend Iestyn Harris the main speaker while the 90th anniversary dinner, rearranged for November, has been further postponed.

Instead, the club will focus on a full calendar of celebration events for the 91st year instead.

The committee has decided the clubhouse will remain closed due to the amount of volunteer hours it would take to ensure they meet all the various lockdown restrictions.

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