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John gives club game huge pat on the back for completion rate

Geraint John

WRU community ddirector Geraint John

WRU community director Geraint John has sent out a heartfelt thank you message to people involved in the club game in Wales on the back of 87 per cent of league matches having been played this season.

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In the first full campaign for four years – following an extended break due to the Covid 19 pandemic – a total of 2664 games (87.34 per cent) went ahead.

Some 330 matches (10.82 per cent) were claimed and forfeited, with one team being awarded a 20-0 walkover and five match points due to the opposition not fulfilling the fixture.
In addition, 56 games (1.84 per cent) were not rearranged or claimed.

Giving his thoughts on the figures, John said: “It’s the first full season we have had since 2018-19 due to Covid. People always look at the games not played, but you have got to look at the games that were played. That is a lot of games.

“When you add it all together, 87.34 per cent of the matches were actually played. While we have got 386 games not played, we have got 2664 games that have been played.

We have got to thank the clubs, the players, the coaches, the volunteers and the match officials for their hard work in getting these games played.

Champions were crowned and promotion completed in all divisions, while eight were fully completed in terms of fixtures. Division 3 was the section where most games were not played. The average weekly completion percentage across the 26 leagues in the community game pyramid was 73.18 per cent.

In terms of the reasons for postponements, 523 were down to “no side”, with a team unable to fulfil the fixture. A further 438 were as a result of unplayable pitches and 128 due to a clash with a cup round. A significant number of those postponed games were played at a later date.

John says further detail within the stats provides real food for thought for the future.

“On average, we get close to 75 per cent of games played each weekend,” he said. “Five of the weekends where there were less than 75 per cent played were in December and January. Much of that is down to pitches being unplayable.

“I think that’s telling us something. We know that period is a struggle for us. We have got to look at that.

“We don’t tend to play in November because of the Wales internationals. We have got to really look at that closely. Clubs start the season, they get a run of games, they are playing regularly, they are all on a high, then all of a sudden they stop because of the November internationals.

“You then have a number of games postponed in December and January due to weather, so you can end up with a long break. When that happens, players lose interest and people lose interest.

“We won’t have the break in November next season because of the World Cup, but we’ve got to reconsider that period in the longer term.”

Next season, the league programme is likely to commence at the beginning of September and go through until the start of April. That would leave scope in the month of April for playing any postponed games, along with cup competitions.

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