SB Rugby Teams lose funding from SU.

10th May 2013

On Wednesday 8 May, Sutton Bonington Rugby Teams faced an uncertain future.

Following a meeting with AU reps and the Assistant Director of Sport, the removal of the Sutton Bonington rugby team from the British University and College League (BUCS) was deemed likely.

As Nottingham University strive to become one of the top five teams in the League, the men’s and women’s teams were told that the separation of Sutton Bonington and University Park players was unlikely to continue. A proposal was put forth for the two teams to merge and compete together; a suggestion that Sutton Bonington say is unrealistic and impractical.

The rugby teams from the campus have therefore launched a petition to insist that, if they do not compete in the BUCS, they ultimately face a lack of funding and teams to play against. In essence, the teams would cease to exist.

We spoke to some of Sutton Bonington’s rugby players to ask them how long they’ve been fighting to keep their teams going:

Considering that BUCS ranks teams on their merit which the university then use to allocate their funding, we asked the players how well they’re doing in the league:

Our listeners were full of support for the teams and one texted in asking: ‘If Jonny Bell and the AU are so concerned about BUCS points, why are they cutting out teams which have provided them with so many points in the past and can continue to do so in the future?

The general consensus from our listeners suggested that the Sutton Bonington rugby teams should continue.

Despite all of this, the AU are still planning to cut SB’s funding. Jonny Bell, the SU’s AU Officer responded to the situation with this statement:

We asked the players what they thought of Jonny’s statement and they responded by stressing how important rugby is for the community of their campus:

One listener explained: ‘Rugby on Sutton Bonington isn’t just about the sport; it’s a community and rugby is a crucial part of the social life and history of the campus. It’s good for us to be recognised for something other than being ‘that farm campus.’

Yet on the other side of the argument, there was suggestion that ‘Sutton Bonington teams play at a very low level…surely being forced to play at a lower standard would suit them? As far as I understand it, the rugby field will still be there and there are still lots of community teams they can play against instead.’

The players we spoke to however, disagreed.

Rhiannon, a dedicated rugby fan, highlighted the problems of travel if the two teams are merged. She explained that Sutton Bonington students have 9-5 days, so travelling would be too difficult and have a negative impact on their studies.

She instead suggested a compromise: ‘If the University cannot consider having a separate Sutton Bonington team, then they will have to commit to having half of the training sessions on that campus.’
She added, ‘the AU has completely lost sight of the reason why we’re at University and why we play rugby.’

Listen here to hear some more of the support the teams got from listeners and how you can help them:

To voice your opinion and sign the Sutton Bonington petition visit: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-sb-rugby/