Rugby club drives forward in face of adversity

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Oban Lorne RFC are hunkering down and moving forward following confirmation from Scottish Rugby that the 2020/21 season, due to start in January next year, has been cancelled.

President Sandy Rokitta expressed disappointment on hearing the news but agreed that the risks in continuing to play competitive league fixtures by far outweigh anything else.

‘We are obviously disappointed on the season being cancelled at all levels; however we think we should look at things in perspective,’ he said. ‘This was a necessary decision taken by the SRU which we support.

‘We have a responsibility to not only our players but also our  community; and travelling to regions which are in higher tiers than Argyll to play a game of rugby, then return home to our families and our community didn’t seem to make sense to us as a club. We are glad this has been recognised by the SRU.’

The governing body made its announcement last Wednesday with Scottish Rugby’s board supporting the recommendation to close 2020/21 competitive fixtures at all levels of the club and school game due to the national impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent public health guidelines now in place.

For the time being Oban Lorne are turning their focus on their youth rugby section, which is still very much active, as well as their own finances.

‘Our mini rugby section is going really well and continues to grow; we are also delighted to continue to support the School of Rugby programme at Oban High School,’ said Sandy.

‘These will be challenging times, and as a club we need the support of our members more than ever.

‘We are asking all of our members, new and old, to pay their membership despite the lack of rugby this year. We have received support from the SRU but the club will still face challenges in the coming months.

‘The work that the committee and volunteers have done has been fantastic and we hope to get back to the new normal as soon as it is safe for us to do so.’

Despite the cancellation of the revised competitive league programme, Scottish Rugby aims to facilitate friendly fixtures in the months ahead at a time when it is safe to do so.

‘This could be a great opportunity to re-establish long standing cups and matches between our neighbours such as Lochaber RFC and Isle of Mull RFC,’ concluded Sandy.