This will mean Vectis RFC will be unable to use Ventnor Rugby Club’s facilities at Watcombe Bottom in the forthcoming season.
In a press release sent to Island Echo, the Chairman of Ventnor Rugby Club, Ed Blake, wrote:
“Vectis RFC was established in order to preserve youth rugby on the Island. The senior clubs, at the time, were struggling to put out full teams across the age grades. So followed an understandable step to merge the teams so that one larger playing pool was created to ensure each age group had the best chance of surviving and in time, thriving.
“The low playing numbers at the time were a side effect of a much larger situation on the Island; very few local schools played rugby; there was investments made into other sports attracting players away from rugby; volunteer numbers and availability had dropped substantially.
“In recent years, we have seen an uplift in rugby interest in the Ventnor area. Where previously we as a club had found doors closed, there is optimism about the future. As an example, we are seeing local primary schools now regularly playing tag rugby in lessons and after school. We have seen very good numbers in organised school tournaments and initiatives like O2 touch. After huge investment in our pitches and training areas, the result is that the local community is engaged with us and wants to be more involved.
“With these changes, we believe the time is right for us to be serving our local community, club and sport better by providing our own youth rugby programme. This is not to do down any of the hard work Vectis RFC have put in, in fact quite the opposite. You have made rugby for Island children sustainable, and have grown playing numbers in very difficult circumstances, we thank you for that. We understand the hard work required in developing our own youth and mini programme, and that it may be a slow process, but long term we believe this to be correct for Ventnor and the surrounding area that we serve.
“In order to create this new programme, we will be required to use our facility to its full potential. Sadly, we will no longer be able to provide pitches or training areas for training or playing use by Vectis RFC at Watcombe after this 21/22 season.
“We wish Vectis RFC all the best in the future, and we look forward to one day playing against you on the pitch.”
In reply, Vectis Rugby Club wrote on their Facebook page:
“The announcement from Ventnor RFC for the relaunch of their own youth rugby side on social media yesterday has not changed Vectis RFC’s commitment to support, facilitate and enable mini and youth rugby across the Isle of Wight. Supported by three youth rugby facilitating institutions across the Island that also follow England RFU’s Core Values of Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship, Vectis RFC will continue to follow its remit of over 20 years.”
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