Rance: Stratford RFC will celebrate the successes of this season

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Action from Stratford's win over Leamington from earlier in the season. Photo: Mark Williamson R15/2/20/9276

RUGBY UNION

STRATFORD will celebrate the successes of this season – that was the promise made by chairman Tom Rance after the RFU cancelled the 2019/20 campaign.

The announcement from the sport’s governing body last Friday stated that all levels of the game, apart from the Gallagher Premiership, would be ended with immediate effect.

RFU CEO Bill Sweeney made the move as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the decision affecting all league, cup and county rugby.

Sweeney said in his statement that the RFU was “working through the implications of ending the season early and have instigated a thorough process to ensure fair and balanced outcomes for the game.

He added: “We will communicate these outcomes by the middle of April. While we would like to provide all the answers now, we need some time to get it right for the best interests of the game.

“Rest assured, we are working on this as a priority and we will continue to send weekly updates to clubs.”

With the season brought to a premature end, the final Midlands Two West (South) table sees Stratford in top spot with 81 points from 18 games.

Having lost on the opening day of the season to Barkers Butts, the Pearcecroft men won their next 17 games on the spin, a remarkable run of form which saw them pull away at the top of the table.

Whether the Black and Whites are promoted to Midlands One West remains to be seen, but chairman Rance stressed the club must enjoy what they have achieved this season.

“We will celebrate the successes of the club this season. Maybe not in the next few weeks or months, but we will celebrate it, that I can promise you,” he said.

“At the start of this season, Max (Holloway – president) and I met with Richard Pepperell (director of rugby) and we spoke frankly about what a successful season would look like.

“We spoke about enjoyment, regular fixtures, reigniting the ‘Stratty’ spirit and sharing our love for the game across the entire club, minis and juniors, and the ladies section.

“We wanted to continue to encompass the one club mentality.

“Watching us play last season was tough, but this season was very different.

“The players went about things cohesively, pulled on the knowledge of the new coaches and captains and produced results when others hid from the elements.

“I’d therefore like to thank them all for their efforts in making our club the place to be.

“They have been exceptional, to a man.”

President Holloway also paid tribute to a great season after bouncing back from the challenges of the 2018/19 campaign which saw them get relegated from Wadworth 6X South West One East.

“I would like to thank everyone for their support and help through the season,” said Holloway.

“All of which is reflected on where the club is with two strong senior men’s teams both at the top of their respective league and cup competitions, a thriving ladies section and of course the ever-growing and successful minis and juniors section steered by Tom (Stowe) and his team.

“Well done to Richard Pepperell for overseeing all senior rugby and getting our wonderful club back to its best.

“A big thank-you also goes to Ali Prentice for arranging, rearranging and even more rearranging of fixtures, ensuring games went ahead where possible.

“Lastly, I would like to thank John Martin for reviving the VPs section to the strongest numbers seen for many years, a hugely successful VP dinner and the detailed weekly chronicles.”