06/06/14 by Paul Bolton
BROMSGROVE are celebrating after success in the 2014 RFU President’s Awards.
Bromsgrove won the Player Retention Award, one of seven award categories presented by RFU President Bob Reeves at a gala luncheon at Twickenham last Sunday, before the clash between an England XV and Barbarians.
The President’s Awards acknowledge good practice and innovations at rugby clubs in England and help to honour the army of volunteers who underpin grassroots rugby across the country.
Bromsgrove’s award follows the initiative of their vice chairman Alan Danks in helping to establish the West Midlands Reserve League which has enjoyed considerable success this season.
The competition was set up to provide regular competitive rugby teams for clubs in North Midlands, Staffordshire and Warwickshire and to halt the decline in playing numbers from Colts to second team rugby.
The new league system has also attempted to provide level competition for teams to eradicate some of the mismatches that were also deterring players.
Danks wrote to other clubs in the West Midlands in May 2013 and received 19 responses from clubs who were experiencing similar issues to Bromsgrove.
Danks contacted Bill Worth of Yardley & District, who organised the existing North Midlands and West Midlands Reserve Leagues and it was agreed to form a sub-group to review the structure.
A new three division structure was established with Gloucestershire clubs Cinderford and Old Patesians also entering sides and the system has proved a resounding success in its inaugural season by helping to improve player retention.