Barnsley RUFC is to focus solely on rugby following an in-depth review of its current ground-sharing strategy.
The ground-sharing arrangement with Evostik Premier football team Shaw Lane AFC, has been reviewed by both parties and the conclusion has been reached that the best interests of both clubs would be served by an amicable parting of the ways.
The rugby club, having listened to substantial feedback, has decided that it now needs to focus more on the needs of its nineteen senior, junior, ladies and children’s teams.
This will also enable the club to develop its RFU-backed priorities properly, including ‘holding on clubs’ and its ‘All Schools initiative’, which is the key recruitment and retention activity for its thriving Tots, Minis and Juniors section.
At a senior team level the ground share meant that last season the club was able to play only 10 of its 20 fixtures at its home venue on the main pitch, and for the junior teams they have not been able to use that facility at all.
Commenting on the decision, rugby manager Paul Matthews said: “It would have been wonderful if the ground share agreement had worked for us all, but partly due to Shaw Lane AFC’s continued success their needs have become more than we are able to support, and sadly in trying our best to support them we have run the risk of alienating our loyal fan base.
“We are fully committed to running a rugby club that is accessible to all ages and demographics, and to rolling out a strategy that develops the sport, and in order to do that we need to have full access to our pitches and training spaces.”
Dave Exley, Shaw Lane AFC secretary said: “The rapid progress that the club has made in recent years has no doubt been helped by the co-operation that we have received from Barnsley RUFC.
“We fully understand their position and the review has made our club look at its future needs with emphasis on continued growth. As we rise up the leagues the agreement with Barnsley RUFC would be more difficult to maintain, therefore we must look elsewhere for a facility with potential to develop.
“Negotiations with all parties on timescales and potential partners are moving quickly and once a decision has been agreed we will of course notify our loyal fans”