The following is NOT an official statement from Surrey Beavers AA and merely one broken down, concussed old man's opinion. As there was only one game this week, there seemed to be a lot of space to fill.
On October 13, 2018 the Surrey Beavers First Division travelled to the "Island" to play Cowichan and won 65-0. I guess you know that, but what you don't know is that in an article in a Cowichan newspaper the Piggies’ head coach Andrew Wright said, "One of the best First Division clubs in B.C. in recent years, the Beavers have resisted moving up to the Premiership.".
“They must have a good eight players who are definitely of premier calibre,” Wright said. “But the club doesn’t want to go up.”
First of all, thank you Andrew for the compliment. Second of all, there are two points that require clarification.
The first point is that it takes 15-30 Premier caliber players to compete in Prems. The second point was what Beavers’ Official Twitter account replied via Twitter that it was in fact the cost of playing in Prems that was the barrier for Surrey going to Prems. Our club is well established, but doesn't have the deep pockets or sponsorship monies of those in the Premiership. We, here with the Beavers, have seen the decimating effects of clubs moving up before they were able to manage it (Abbotsford RFC). Surrey has always played to its potential and committed to the highest level of competition the club can manage, even in lean times when player quality and numbers weren't particularly high. The club knows that keeping 3 sides tight together have provided a stable base to grow on. This continuity has allowed the club to be extremely competitive at first division, and second division, and only player developing in third division.
All of this offers interesting food for thought. Many clubs have realigned and moved up or down from their usual competitions this season. There are 52 teams with 12-Prems, 12-Prem Reserve, 6-1st Division, 11-2nd Division, and 11-3rd Division teams. To the uneducated eye it seems there are 3 competitions that are being heavily contended and 1 where the same 6 (Div 1) teams bash heads repeatedly. The rugby circles I travel in wonder why not a 10 team Prem (anything more puts stress on an uneven schedule and travel commitments) and a 10 team Prem Reserve league. Moving 2 clubs down to firsts and 2 up from seconds, giving 10 teams in 1sts, 2nds, and 3rds, once massaged. A promotion/demotion format should be employed to move strong play up the ladder. I hate to say it, but have a spending cap, with the BCRU overseeing the league budget. When it comes to scheduling the priority needs to be to keep 3 team clubs together, then 2 team clubs, etc. Keep clubs together so they may support each other with roster players and support their host clubs with revenue generating host ups, and reward them for having good programs. Imagine scheduling a Premier team to play in Victoria and their Reserves to play in Abbotsford, NO support.
Leagues with uneven numbers have byes which can kill momentum, when you factor in holidays and weather related field closures during the season there is enough time off already built in.
Back to the point made by Mr. Wright from Cowichan. I feel his pain. The Surrey 3rds have at times, been thrashed-often giving up 70 points, to 'so called' 3rd Division teams with former rugby league professionals & teams consisting of vast quantities of very good players from overseas, which should be playing up a division or two. I understand this issue is far more complex than I am aware. Another part of the discussion invariably turns to this, how is it good for BC Rugby to have an elite level of competition where a substantial number of players are mercenaries from overseas? Then the issue of player poaching arises. A small or one team club that developed a local player in their system loses that player when at rep camps they are drawn in with promises to come plays Prems. When that player can't crack the lineup, maybe because he gets beat out by an import, and doesn't get the quality minutes he was expecting. The club who lost the player has lost a resource and the player can't go somewhere else. The smart clubs have feelers in the community & high schools, they recruit and develop a local home grown product and don't have to spend to obtain imported coaches and players. From the outside looking in, the Prems appears to be an overseas arms race. We in Surrey are extremely proud to have a roster we developed, not bought. We are also proud to have kept our club together by focusing on "club", while remaining competitive, making the BC semifinals, at minimum perennially, in First and Second Divisions. I think our record and history speak for themselves, as to the clubs choices over the last 46 years.
Mr. Wright, no offence taken.
BCRU, I can be contacted to save BC Rugby through the Surrey Beavers. Ask me about diversity, youth involvement, junior development, and any other issue that may be challenging, but yet unsolved.