CORNISH All Blacks chairman Andrew Crichton is working through a five-year plan to get the club back into the National Leagues as the club starts to get going again after more than a year without any competitive action, writes Nigel Walrond.
When the 2019-20 season finished, the All Blacks were lying three places off the bottom of the South West Premier Division table.
But a touch rugby tournament last Thursday evening, attended by around 50 players, shows there is still a buzz and plenty of enthusiasm around the club as they gear up for a return to league fixtures in September.
“We have been running pitch-up-and-plays for the last couple of Thursdays, and tonight we have had a bit of a follow-on, with a competition, and it has been really well attended,” said Crichton.
“We have had around 50 people here this evening, and it has been around that figure the last couple of Thursdays, so it has been really well attended.”
The past 14 months have been tough for everyone, but Crichton, who took over as chairman of Launceston just before lockdown, says the period has been “surprisingly good” down at Polson Bridge.
“The support we have had from the members has been great,” he said.
“We started off last season knowing that we may not play any rugby, and they have supported the club going forward, so it has been a huge club buy-in which has kept us going and has given us a good foundation for when we start again in September.
“We have some big plans going forward, we have a new groundsman and the pitch is going to look really good, and when the new season starts we have good aspirations of pushing very high up in the table.”
In terms of financial help the club have been able to tap into during the lockdowns, South African Crichton explained: “We have only taken on the bounce-back loan, but we haven’t used any of that money yet.
“Fortunately enough, with the help of the members, we have been able to keep that money for a rainy day, and keep ourselves going, and we haven’t had the expenses we would normally have during a season, and being able to start September on a positive street is going to be really good.”
Plenty of work has been taking place off the pitch during the past few months to get the ground in good condition.
“There is some brand new seating going into the stand.
“The seating has been there for 20 years, so the seats have reached the point of coming to an end, and we will have the big St Piran cross displayed within the seating.
“We have also made big improvements to the driveway leading to the ground, and it is all part of the five-year plan to move us forward to try and get ourselves back up to the National Leagues.
“We have got lots of players coming to the club who we haven’t seen before, and we have got people joining from other places, so it is putting us in a really good position.”
The club are also busy strengthening their links with the local community.
“When we start the new season, I think the want and demand to do some rugby is going to be huge, and for Launceston as a club that is going to be massive,” he commented.
“We have got some good ties-ins with a lot of other places. The athletics club is doing some stuff down here, as are the football guys, and we are just bringing the whole community back in again, which is nice.”
The All Blacks are back in action tomorrow with a friendly at Redruth, with a 4.30pm kick-off.