By David Sillifant
LAUNCESTON Rugby Club treasurer Roy Webb is hopeful that brand new floodlights will be installed at Polson Bridge by the end of September.
The current floodlights at the club, which have been there for nearly 20 years, are no longer fit for purpose on matchdays and fall below professional standards according to RFU regulations.
The RFU stipulates that the floodlights should produce 200 lumens (the measure of the total amount of visible light to the human eye from a lamp or light source), but the current floodlights are giving off just 140 lumens (lux), which is adequate for training but not for matchdays.
Roy explains: “Our current lighting system has been tested and is running at 140 lux which is adequate for training but falls outside of the RFU requirements for matches.
“The new floodlighting will function above 200 lux and has the facility to switch between a training mode at 100 lux and a match play mode at 200 lux. This flexibility of lighting options will return significant annual energy savings to the club because our greatest use of the floodlights is during training sessions.
“Our current system has a power consumption of 4.5kw per mast x 8 masts, which represents over 5,760kwh per season. The new system power consumption will be 4.0kw per mast x 10 masts and will reduce our energy consumption by 1,280kwh per season.
“It is a win-win situation, we’ll provide better facilities for the players and supporters of the club, reduce our environmental impact and save money on an annual basis.”
As well as the quality of the lights, there are also concerns about the current location of the floodlights.
Roy continued: “The current floodlights are inside the spectator boundary and are inside the playing surface which provide health and safety risks. They should be at least five metres away from the surface but they are just inside. We need to move them back as we need to protect the players and supporters.”
Part of the new plans, which are currently awaiting a decision from Cornwall Council, sees the installation of floodlights on the pitch adjacent to the main pitch.
Roy believes that the changes will make a significant difference, adding: “At the moment there are certain areas of the training pitches which are very dark.
“The new lights will open up the entirety of the pitches and make it a lot safer as we have to think about the players welfare.
“The changes will benefit everyone from the first team right down to the Minis and Juniors, as they’ll have a better environment to train and play in while supporters will be entertained as they can see more. We also now have the possibility of being able to have two floodlit matches being played at once.”
The project for the new floodlights has been running for a number of months.
The total cost of the project is £150,000 with £15,000 still required.
The club received £50,000 from both the Samworth Brothers Sports Opportunity Fund and the RFU Facilities Improvement Fund while the other £35,000 has been raised through the generosity of local businesses and supporters.
Amongst the money raised by supporters, was £5,000 from a board inside the clubhouse where they paid £50 for a square.
A similar board will be put up for the start of the season while the traditional bucket collections will go ahead once the season gets underway.
Roy is confident that the plans will go ahead and believes that once the project is completed, Launceston Rugby Club will be the envy of most clubs in the area.
Roy concluded: “We haven’t got an exact start date yet as we’re still awaiting planning permission from Cornwall Council.
“However, I don’t envisage any problems and we’d like to start by the end of July or the middle of August and get it done if we can by the end of September.
“We’re still approaching local businesses to reduce the £15,000 shortfall but we’re getting there.
“However, once the floodlights are in place, we’ll hopefully be able to start hosting Cornwall Cup games again and I believe that we’ll have the best floodlit facilities in Cornwall for our level, and, a couple above.”
l Former Cornish All Blacks fly-half Fraser Honey has signed for National Two South side Barnstaple. See next week’s Post to find out why the 20-year-old believes Barnstaple is the right club for him in his bid to becomes a professional rugby player.