2021 – off with a bang

Hi everyone

2021 has started in much the same vein as 2020 it seems: no, I’m not going to mention the ‘C’ word, because I’m referring to the RKC!  We’ve certainly hit the ground running.  For once, I’ll try and keep this note relatively brief; let’s see how that goes…

Firstly, many thanks to everyone receiving this mail: it means you heeded my request from prompt payment of subs, which helped minimise the admin (for which I’m eternally grateful!!).  The vast majority of members have signed on again, so we must be doing something right.

To provide an update on work status, it’s all been about the summer era.  We’re getting very close to having all the data checked off for this now: at the time of writing, we’re into single figures for the number of clubs I’m waiting on feedback for; the rest are either with me to check (which can take from 10 minutes to a few hours), have had suggested changes processed & are back with the club expert for final sign-off, or are fully done (11 at present).  There’s not a huge amount to do therefore, and I’ve had commitments for feedback on the rest by the end of January.  Thanks to everyone who has supported this so far.

Chris Lines has done some excellent work on the website, which I think people are going to be really impressed with.  As well as the data for the summer era, there’s a forum for members, and all of our archive available, so this will become the one-stop shop for all things RKC.  Details of how to get on will follow shortly, and your patience here is appreciated: I’m aiming for before the season starts for the big launch.  Given we will have this up & running very soon, retaining an exclusive area for members, I’ve opened the Facebook group to non-members, which will help broaden our reach.

On another tack, I was honoured to join fellow member Tony Collins to record an episode for his excellent Rugby Reloaded podcast (well, I’ve found all previous episodes very enjoyable; I’ll let you all be the judge of the latest one!).  We had a great chat on the history of record keeping, and a range of related matters; I’m sure we could have filled a couple of hours, but thankfully Tony didn’t let me ramble too much!  The episode is now available here, so please spread the word on this and share with anyone who might find it of interest: Tries, Damned Tries & Statistics

One of the topics we discussed was the thorny issue of club continuity.  Thanks must go to Mark Kirby for providing a sounding board & strong influence on the discussions here, and a few other members who have also provided input (as well as one club owner, and another’s media manager!).  This is a matter I’d like to try and draw to a conclusion before we launch the summer era records online.  I have written a paper setting out the rationale, and invite comments on this.  It’s clearly a subjective matter, and there are some contentious ones in here, chief among them Bradford 1907, Gateshead & NW Crusaders.  I know not all will agree with these, but we have to make what is a grey area black & white somehow (though we can attach various explanations of the position taken to help the understanding here regardless of the decision).  I’d especially be keen to hear people’s thoughts on NW Crusaders – the provisional suggestion is to classify these as a continuation of the earlier Crusaders club, primarily because in almost all regards this mirrors the circumstances of a few other clubs at the time, such as Sheffield, and I have given primacy to consistency; crucially, though, the club themselves take a different view, and wish to be seen as a new club.  This isn’t without precedent, as historically re-formed clubs have tried to distance themselves from previous owners: think New Hunslet & York most notably, but in both instances, these phoenix clubs are now usually regarded as continuations of the earlier forerunners, given retention of fans and some other key attributes; in a lot of respects, NW Crusaders actually retain more of these things than those two clubs.  I also aim to get an abridged version of this paper / a related article, into the trade press, to try and entice some wider input and reach something like a consensus.

Finally, the podcast has also motivated me to try to use my Twitter account to generate a bit of interest in our work & the history of the game through its stats & records.  I’ve started doing an ‘On this day’ feature – it’s proving a bit clunky to pull together, but I’ll persevere, and see how it goes (any suggestions for upcoming anniversaries welcome!).  You can follow me on @NeilOrmston, if that’s your sort of thing 🙂 

I’ll wrap it up there – it seems the new year has not led to a new me, as I’ve clearly failed to keep this brief!  I guess some habits are hard to kick.  Hopefully your own resolutions are still intact, and you enjoy a healthy and prosperous new year.

All the best


Author: Neil Ormston