TAKING its strongest stance yet, the Central West Rugby Union board has demanded prospective Blowes Clothing Cup clubs field first, second and colts grades or “find somewhere else to play”.
The CWRU held its annual general meeting last Sunday, with Forbes’ Peter Hammond the only new addition to the game’s board, as an independent director.
Dubbo’s Frank Newman has retained the presidency, while Bob Sullivan (vice president, small competitions director), James Horsburgh (treasurer), Tony Holman (juniors representative) and Ian Richardson (referees representative) are all members of the 2017 committee. The role of vice president, director of major competitions remains a casual vacancy.
And together the board has banded together to ensure all clubs set to nominate for the 2017 Blowes Clothing Cup competition field at least three senior grades, with third grade to remain optional.
“The board is hot and strong clubs must have ones, twos and colts, and if they haven’t they’ll have to go and find somewhere else to play,” CWRU chief executive officer Peter Veenstra said.
It’s a clean message to both defending first grade premiers Orange Emus and wooden spooners Dubbo Rhinos ahead of next season.
Neither club fielded a regular colts team in 2016. The Rhinos was contesting its first season back in the premier competition after a spell in the Graincorp Cup while Emus hasn’t fielded a regular colts side since winning the premiership in 2009.
The Rhinos have made an effort in recent years to get younger players involved in the club and the pressure will be on now to get them into a team on a regular basis.
Veenstra said the board was strongest in its stance for all clubs to field the required teams, while several other notable outcomes emerged from the meeting.
Narromine indicated it wouldn’t be able to field the required grades, falling back to the one-team GrainCorp Cup for the 2017 season.
The Harden Red Devils joined the GrainCorp Cup.
And, the Blowes Clothing Cup’s mooted two tier system was quashed, with clubs unable to agree on the structure, or which sides belonged, in either tier.
Narromine’s downfall, though, means the Blowes Clothing Cup is headed for the preferred 10 side premiership, assuming both Rhinos and Emus can fulfill the required grades.
Veenstra said there was discussion on the under 19s age barrier on colts ahead of new season while the penalty for forfeits was also to be finalised.