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News Archive > Sport > Bodmin chair Burden predicts rugby boom

Bodmin chair Burden predicts rugby boom

By Tom Howe 10th February 2021

Bodmin chair Burden predicts rugby boom

Bodmin chairman James Burden says the start of the Six Nations brought home just how much grassroots rugby is missed, and predicts a boom in numbers when action is allowed to resume, writes Tom Howe.

The town’s club, who ply their trade at Clifden Park, welcomed faces new and old to training between lockdown periods, with a long-awaited return to competitive action finally on the horizon. However, with England placed under a new national lockdown from January 5, that resumption has been pushed even further back, with 333 days now having passed since Bodmin’s first team last played in earnest.

Rather than dwelling on the negatives, those behind the scenes have worked hard to ensure the club is in the best shape possible for it’s two male, one female and multiple youth teams to make playing rugby an even more attractive option in the future. 

“We were really looking forward to the new season and were targeting promotion without a doubt,” Burden told the Voice. “We have got really strong numbers and a really good mix of young and old players in the squad. We were getting new players in all the time and I think we are the only junior club in Cornwall that are running two solid men’s teams.

“We are always looking for new players and would be happy with any kind of rugby at the moment, anything. We have guys that are absolutely chomping at the bit. I’m a veteran to it all but I feel so sorry for these 18 and 19-year-olds who just can’t do anything but I do believe, once we come out of this, the numbers will improve.

“We will get even more players because people will realise what they have been missing. In regards to playing, we were getting 40 strong in men’s training. Our juniors were having 30 to 40 kids and the women had about 20 to 25. It is all looking sparkling for next season although we don’t know when that will be.

“People have been watching the Six Nations this weekend and can’t wait to get back to it. I think people are realising just how much they have missed it during this lockdown.”

While matters on the pitch are suspended, Bodmin have used the downtime to apply for and secure grant funding from the Rugby Football Union (RFU) to maintain and improve their facilities, something which Burden described as ‘a bonus’.

“We got training going again, abiding to RFU rules but this third lockdown meant everything stopped again,” he explained. “It has been very stop-start and the feeling is that nothing will happen now until next season on the rugby side of things.

“Financially we are doing well though. We took grants from the RFU and that certainly helped. We are lucky to own our own bar and, when it is open, we make good money out of that.

“We have completed our dug-outs on the second team pitch and installed new showers in the training rooms. We have also been going out, socially distanced, to maintain the pitches and things like that. Things are really looking good.

“Our women are doing weekly yoga sessions online and some social distanced running. The juniors are kept interested with Skype calls and things like that plus a load of the boys from the club are doing a Weight Watchers kind of thing. There are about 20 of us who have all thrown £10 in the pot and the winner takes all.

“What is a shame is that it was our 50th anniversary last year. We were going to have Jack Nowell and Stuart Hogg [of the Exeter Chiefs] down to do speeches. We had so much planned and it has just slipped by. We will definitely reengage all that when it is safe to do so.”

Bodmin’s two male teams play in Cornwall One and Duchy League (East) respectively. The town’s women’s squad are approaching their second anniversary while the club offer youth rugby across a range of aces.

For details on how you can get involved, search Bodmin RFC on Facebook and Instagram.

By Tom Howe 10th February 2021

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