Published: 06:00, 09 October 2020
By Kevin Redsull
Deal & Betteshanger Rugby Club are facing the tough prospect of not being able to play any competitive matches until next year.
This follows the announcement by the Rugby Football Union that, because of Covid-19, they had made “the difficult decision” not to allow any adult merit league or age grade competitions to take place before January 2021 at the earliest.
The Lions, whose three senior teams all participate in league rugby, haven’t played any matches since the March lockdown and the club’s head coach Danny Vaughan admitted: “The situation at the moment is not ideal and not being able to play any competitive rugby until next year could well hurt the club both on and off the pitch.”
Vaughan, one of Kent’s most respected coaches, took over at the Drill Field in June of last year and added: “I have never experienced anything like this in my 30 years of coaching and who knows what the long-term ramifications will be for the game?”
For the time being Vaughan and his fellow Lions coaches are doing their best to keep the players’ fitness levels up at twice-weekly training sessions.
He said: “We train on the astroturf at the Goodwin Academy on Tuesday nights and at the Drill Field on Thursday nights and attendance numbers have been high.
"At least 20 players have been regularly attending both sessions and we train for an hour playing touch rugby-conditioned games.”
During his long career Vaughan has coached several leading Kent teams such as Blackheath and Canterbury and believes the fact the Lions are a strong community-based club is going to prove vital in the coming months.
He said: “A big majority of the players live in Deal and the surrounding area, and the club has a strong following and fantastic support from many local businesses.
“We’ve also got a large group of volunteers who give up their time to maintain the ground and keep everything neat and tidy, and it’s that sort of community spirit which will help the club to come through these difficult times.”