Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Future of Club with Proud History under Threat; SCRUM DOWN

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Future of Club with Proud History under Threat; SCRUM DOWN

Article excerpt


THE future of a Hartlepool rugby club with a competitive history stretching back more than 50 years is under threat if they can't attract more players.

After losing players to rival clubs in the town over the summer, West Hartlepool Technical Day School Old Boys (TDSOB) have not been able to fulfil their first four league fixtures in Durham and Northumberland Two.

Their game at Ponteland had to be scrapped on Saturday because they couldn't field a team and if this weekend's home game with Redcar goes the same way the club will be forced to drop out of the league.

Club chairman John Dove admits that is a grim possibility which could have farreaching consequences, and is desperately hoping they can attract new players to the club to help them preserve their league status. While he stresses that the club will not fold - and some form of recreational rugby would be maintained for the rest of the season - it would be a sad development for a club that has played as high as North East Two in recent seasons.

"We cried off last weekend and the bottom line is that we need to play against Redcar on Saturday. If we're unable to fulfil that fixture we would think that it's unfair on other teams and unfair on the league to keep going," he said. "We have been deducted two points for every fixture we've failed to fulfil and there is no realistic chance of us overhauling that kind of deficit, even if we were able to play every game for the rest of the season.

"The situation is a concern but at the moment we're hopeful of playing the game against Redcar. We need more players though, and we're desperate to attract players of all capabilities."

The club has been left in dire straits after a difficult close season which saw many of their best players leave for new clubs at a higher level.

Despite attracting Darlington Mowden Park coach Howie Murray to help out with training this season, numbers have remained low and players' work commitments have left the club in a difficult position. …

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