ONE of the main problems with all this snow and ice is trying to find somewhere to train.
The Cinderford pitch is still under six inches of snow after another white blanket came down again on Monday night.
On Tuesdays we usually train at Hartpury on their all-weather pitch, which is perhaps not as ‘all-weather’ as they say because we can’t train on it this week.
We’re looking for another venue as we go to press on this column, so hopefully we’ll get somewhere.
Last Thursday we trained inside at St Peter’s High School in their sports hall, kindly sorted by our head coach Dave Pointon.
There are various places around and about that we can potentially use, including Imjin Barracks at Innsworth, St Peter’s, Hartpury, Cinderford School and Sir Thomas Rich’s School.
We had 38 players at training last week and it’s quite challenging to find a venue for these kind of numbers.
And, of course, every club in the land is looking for indoors facilities.
We talk about obesity levels in the world, but you try finding someone who isn’t exercising on a Tuesday or Thursday night because everywhere is booked up!
I’ll have to pull in a few favours this week.
Training inside is very different to being on the pitch, but the players like it for obvious reasons!
It’s important to keep training because it keeps the guys together so they don’t have too much time apart and the team spirit doesn’t drop off.
A lot of the guys have to travel to training or matches from all corners of our county.
We are fortunate at Cinderford that a lot of the guys are friends outside of rugby and still see each other.
As semi-pros it is vital to keep fitness levels up. Many of them train on their own anyway, following their personal regimes, but you can’t beat the team-bonding and working out together to retain the focus and energy.
A few seasons ago in prolonged bad weather Cinderford went ten weeks without playing a game which was a very difficult time for us to keep momentum – we don’t want to do that again.
Clubs like Longlevens are lucky to have their own gym facilities so they guys keep going with their circuits.
Some other clubs go road running instead or find a gym or sports hall and try and do it together indoors.
Clubs will suffer financial hit through their reduced bar takings
LOCAL rugby clubs will suffer financially during this bad weather, and Cinderford is no different in that respect.
Locals often go to their club for a drink at the weekend or to watch the various seniors and junior teams play, and local rugby will take a cash-flow hit through reduced bar takings.
Some of the really traditional rugby clubs, including Gloucester Old Boys, Widden Old Boys and Old Cryptians, will not even open if there is no rugby.
Other clubs like Coney Hill, Matson and Old Cents are a bit different because they are a social club, as well as a rugby club, and are open all the time with skittles, line dancing and the like going on.
It’s tough for any club to take the hit in the cash-flow department and it can have a detrimental effect long term that needs to be clawed back.
You hope that you will reschedule the fixture soon, but it can go on longer into the year, which is not ideal.
Cinderford have got two spare Saturdays but already one has now been taken up by last Saturday’s postponed game against Tynedale which will now take place on February 9.
February 23 is our other one but that weekend we also see two of our players, Ben West and Jack Adams, away playing for England Counties, which is a great achievement and we are very proud to see them selected.
So all in all these times can be quite challenging to deal with.
Local clubs will find it hard and will have to manage their money and budgets accordingly.
It’s a tough one to cope with but hopefully the snow won’t last forever and we can get on with it and not extend the season too long.
One reason for that is the County Championships start in May and there will be a call on players for those games also.
There is also the Combination Cup to plan for among the Gloucester clubs but local rugby guys are a resilient bunch and always find a way to cope.
It was all white on the night!
I HAVE never seen an orange ball in rugby, but if there was ever a case for one to be required then the Leicester against Toulouse Heineken Cup winner-takes-all game last Sunday would have been it.
For anybody that didn’t catch it, the Welford Road pitch was covered in snow and the French side had an attacking five-metre scrum while the game was still in the balance just before half-time.
Number eight Louis Picamoles picked up from the back of the scrum and barged his way over the line for what he and everybody else thought was a perfectly good try.
But it was impossible for the referee or video official to see whether he had grounded the white ball over the white line through all of the snow, and Leicester eventually went on to win 9-5.
Perhaps the IRB can look at coloured balls especially as in the Heineken Cup some of the spectacle of the competition is diminished as they play it at the worst time of year, weather wise.
As you know I have mentioned the views of Leicester’s director of rugby, Richard Cockerill, in this column before.
The schedule determines who he buys and why he buys them because he understands you have to go through these months with big packs to qualify.
Whether a rugby fanatic or a newbie to the sport, it was quite a spectacle.
There were 24,000 people in the stadium who were well entertained with a place in the Heineken Cup quarter finals being at stake.
If that try had been given it could have changed everything and we might have seen Toulouse heading to Toulon in the quarter finals instead of Leicester.
On the other side of the fence, I couldn’t quite understand why there was such a big meeting before the Tottenham-Manchester United game on Sunday
Sir Alex Ferguson, the Spurs staff and a million other officials were discussing it all in depth despite there being under soil heating and the pitch looking like a bowling green.
I would like to see those boys play football on Welford Road!