Mark My Words

21st July 2011

Skolars Director of Rugby Mark Croston takes a look at the coming weekend’s fixtures and Rugby League in London generally . . . .

It was great to see our 2nd team enjoy a hard earned victory over St Albans, on Saturday – some very spirited defence and clinical finishing gave us another win and saw several players put in performances which caught the eye of Joe and his coaching team.

The Co-operative Championship squad make their way North through the Lake District once again this weekend to face high flying Workington – a 700 mile round trip which unfortunately doesn’t allow us to sample the delights of England’s finest landscape.  However, a visit to Derwent Park is always a pleasure and I always look forward to the warm welcome from Dave Bowden and friends.

Workington have several stand out performers so we have worked very hard, preparing the squad to stop them and to ensure we have enough firepower to keep them under pressure throughout the game. Its never easy going to Workington,  yet we are all looking forward to the weekend as it gives us two days together to prepare. The energy levels and focus at the club have never been better and everyone from players to support staff are determined to keep moving forward and improving every facet of our game week by week.  Our second team entertain Eastern Rhinos at New River on Saturday – lets hope we are both celebrating come Sunday evening.

The growth and development of Rugby League in London is vital to the sports long term vitality. The progress the sport has made,  particularly in the past 10 years with significant private, sponsor, RFL and Sport England investment, is arguably without parallel.  From Urban Rugby, juniors,  schools,  community,  women,  girls,  forces,  students, Cooperative Championship, Engage Super League and most notably representative – its often easy to forget how different the Rugby League landscape once was.

I hear or read from time to time, concerns about the health of our sport in the capital. It may not be that easy to see or understand, but the Rugby League family in London has and continues to lay down foundation after foundation which year on year will be built upon – and despite the occasional setback the sport has never been stronger,  never been played by so many people and never been so vibrant as it is today. Particularly pleasing for Skolars is the number of talented home grown players coming through the junior ranks and with a largely home grown Championship Squad we are reaping the rewards of some of the work mentioned above.

With the renewed Championship structure and a renewed Super League identity for London,  the next three years should see further progress and growth with Rugby League being played at every level and every tier available to the sport in London.  I cant think of any other sport that could even dream of achieving so much.

Our Friday Night Lights event on the eve of the Carnegie Challenge Cup is a celebration of London Rugby League.  We attract supporters from all over the British Isles and beyond whose presence is greatly appreciated by everyone involved with London RL. Its a great event, junior rugby, masters,  beer festival and most importantly a great atmosphere – Howard tells me tickets are selling fast so please come along and see what promises to be a great evening of entertainment.

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