With the exception of the Under 7 and 8’s, all the Mini Junior and Senior age groups have to share 4 pitches at the club. On a Sunday morning there is 8 different age groups, most running 2 teams, looking to use the same pitches.
Many enquiries have been made over the years about the possibility of purchasing additional land for new pitches. We know this is not going to be possible which is why age groups from U9 upwards find themselves each season playing away from the club; or having “Home” games typically at King Edwards school, or, more recently at DMS Whittington.
Both King Edwards’ and DMS Whittington have challenges which is why the club approached Lichfield District Council to see if they could help us. They have kindly agreed to us using Darnford Park and have marked out new pitches just for the rugby club to the size U9 – U12 age groups need.
For the first time this gives us the chance to have extra pitches we can walk to from the club. For the first time this gives us dedicated pitches for the U9, 10, 11 and 12 age groups at the size they need. We will also be able to arrange for toilet provision and drinks too at the entrance to the park. Going forward, appreciating fixtures have already been organised for this season, it will mean for next season we will be able to arrange for all of the age groups to be at home at the same time on a Sunday morning.
We know from going to other clubs that using extra pitches, close to the club itself, is common practice. We are therefore hoping that club members and visitors will be supportive of the new pitches, given their closer proximity to the club than King Edwards or DMS Whittington.
The park will remain open for public use at all times, so coaches will appreciate help from parents to undertake pitch inspections on Sunday mornings to make sure the playing surface is fit for use. We know it will take time for local residents to be aware of our use and we will be working with the council to both get the message out and also looking at signage.
The car park by Darnford Park is small, so we would ask people to park at the club and walk round. This will help us keep good relations with local residents, rather than parking up on Darnford Lane and the adjoining roads.
As a club we don’t want to send our Mini Junior players away on Sundays. We want to give everyone a chance to play at, or, close by to the club, appreciating with just 4 pitches, normally reduced to 3 in the winter months, we need extra space to do that. We therefore are thankful to Lichfield District Council for helping us and that we can make a success of the opportunity this gives us.