In a disconcerting turn of events, Rumney RFC, a rugby club steeped in history, finds itself wrestling with the unrelenting Welsh weather, leaving its pitches submerged and aspirations of home games washed away. The club, with a rich tradition of nurturing talents like a former Wales international and an England player, is now at risk of losing both revenue and players.
The predicament deepened as the Cardiff-based club’s first team pitch has seen action only twice in the past two seasons, succumbing to the adverse effects of incessant rain. Riverside Park, home to Rumney RFC’s five pitches, is now largely unusable, pushing the team manager into a fixture scheduling nightmare.
The team manager expressed concerns, stating, “We’re in a position where we’ve got 300 kids and three senior sides at the club, and we can’t play any home games. As a result, there are no away sides coming down here and utilising the club, which means we’re losing revenue.”
The woes have intensified since the commencement of construction work on a BMX track adjacent to their site. The building activity has exacerbated the waterlogging issue, leaving Rumney RFC in dire straits.
The local council acknowledged the problem and revealed plans to implement additional drainage measures to mitigate the situation. However, the timeline for these measures remains uncertain, leaving the club in limbo.
Amidst the challenges, there are fears that the club could witness an exodus of players, particularly in the youth and mini sections, as regular game time becomes a distant hope. The club’s mini and juniors chairman expressed worries about the sustainability of the current situation.
“I would say we’re probably hitting the 300 mark with players at the moment,” he noted. “We’re really successful and we’re getting great numbers—my only concern is, while we’re without the facilities, how long are those numbers going to stay?”
To cope with the crisis, Rumney RFC has turned to Cardiff University’s 3G sports fields for training sessions. However, this temporary solution comes at a significant cost, with expenses expected to soar close to £10,000 this year.
“That’s just not going to be sustainable going forward without some support or a long-term solution,” warned the chairman, emphasizing the urgency for assistance.
Rumney RFC’s situation is emblematic of broader concerns within the Welsh rugby community. The chairman remarked, “I think it’s quite well documented that Welsh rugby is already struggling. I think we buck that trend at Rumney—we’re very successful, have a great community here and plenty of children coming through the ranks.”
He added, “My concern is that the club’s 50-year history is going to be ruined, and I can’t bear the thought of that.”
In response, the local council acknowledged the challenges posed by heavy rainfall and evolving climate patterns. The council outlined its focus on developing new 4G pitches across the city and community facilities at schools to cater to multiple sports clubs. Additionally, the construction of an international standard BMX track in Llanrumney is underway, accompanied by a sustainable drainage scheme to expedite surface water drainage.
As Rumney RFC navigates these challenging times, the fate of grassroots sports in the Welsh capital hangs in the balance. The plea for swift action and lasting solutions resonates not only for the club but also for the broader rugby community, echoing the importance of preserving the legacy of institutions like Rumney RFC.