Linlithgow Rugby Club won't return to competitive action until January at the earliest

Like the rest of lower league rugby sides in Scotland, Linlithgow Rugby Club haven’t played competitively for seven months and were dealt a further blow with the recent Scottish Rugby announcement that fixtures won’t return until January 2021 at the earliest.

Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 4:47 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 4:50 pm
Linlithgow Rugby Club 1st XV last played competitively back in March

With coronavirus continuing to sourge across the country and strict measures imposed across large swatches of the country, Linlithgow Rugby Club president Ken Richardson was expecting the announcement of a further delay.

“I don’t think the announcement came as a surprise,” Ken said.

“There were lots of signals it was going that way.

“We knew that if things went on much longer and we went into some kind of semi-lockdown, we wouldn’t see competitive rugby for a while because we need to get into full training before we get to practice matches.”

Explaining the reasoning behind the announcement, Scottish Rugby president Ian Barr said: “After much careful consideration and following a detailed briefing by colleagues in rugby development, our chief medical officer and the updates from Scottish Rugby’s threat management group we took the difficult decision as a council to recommend delaying the start of competitive rugby until January 2021, which the board then fully supported.

“We know many clubs and schools were preparing well and looking forward to resuming competitive matches, often against their local rivals due to the proposed regional fixtures, but we must put the safety of our players, volunteers and their local communities first.

“With covid numbers rising nationally, we must act responsibly in the communities where our clubs and schools play, and secondly this delay gives us all time to take stock and contribute to helping lower the infection rates, which can hopefully enable us to return to rugby fully at the right time.”

It is currently planned that Linlithgow, who played in East Division 1 before Covid-19 intervened, would play in a new look regionalised set-up whenever rugby resumes, with no promotion or relegation.

Ken said it was at least a positive that club youngsters aged five to 17 were being allowed to continue training.

“That is great,” he said. “Activity is continuing with all the youth teams.

“We probably have 200 youngsters and they’re training a couple of days a week. Hopefully we’ll keep a nice safe environment for them.

“They get the chance to run around and they’re allowed to do a limited amount of contact so it becomes a more meaningful training session for them. They all seem to be enjoying themselves and the volunteer coaches are doing an excellent job.

“Everyone is sticking to the plan, which is good.

“We are hopeful that some of the younger ones will get to play matches sooner than some of the adults will.

“I would hope that in the first phase we might see a few of the very young primary school kids get back to almost normal rugby in the not too distant future.”