Grangemouth Stags begin gradual reopening process of rugby club
Grangemouth Stags have begun the gradual process of reopening their club and getting players back on the training pitch.
That process began with the return of the club’s mini players, in primary 4 to primary 7, to training on Tuesday.
Next up will be the reopening of the club’s gym on Monday, April 26, hopefully followed by senior players returning to training on Monday, May 17.
Speaking to the Falkirk Herald, Stags chairman Alan McKenzie said: “Our feeling is there isn’t a great rush to get people back because it’s not as if we will start playing again any time soon.
“The first step has been getting the minis back. I know various clubs have had their minis sections back for a while, but we felt it best to wait till after the Easter holidays.
"I know most of the Kelpies are back already, so the 12-17s have been training a couple of weeks. I think the girls aren't due back for a week or so but they might also have been waiting till after Easter holidays.
"We're taking a laid-back, one-step-at-a-time approach to reopening.
"The gym reopening will be a real double whammy. It gets the guys back in as well as the community.
"We paused membership, so we will have to work out when fees are due. We've essentially lost a year of membership through a chunk of revenue, but that will start to filter back in now.”
McKenzie added that he is expecting decent numbers at training sessions once senior players return.
"It will be September at the earliest before senior players are back playing. There was talk about pre-season friendlies, but I don't know how many clubs will be keen for that.
"We did a wee survey of numbers and had a relatively high return of people saying they will be coming back.
"We got up and running to modified contact training last October. It had built up quite nicely before things went awry again.
"Most of the guys have said they are coming back. We will see over time how much that commitment will be, but with a bit of luck we expect numbers to be strong."
Plans are afoot to reopen the clubhouse bar, another way of generating income, as well as for some social events for club members.
"We've pencilled in, weather-dependent, to have people sit outside with the clubhouse bar open,” said McKenzie.
“It's been shut since March 2020 and hasn’t opened for anything since.
"We might test the water over the May back holiday weekend, so we will see how that goes.
"If that goes well, we can explore other ideas in the summer with the Lions tour and maybe a social event in line with the touch tournaments we could run."
In its revamped return-to-rugby guidelines, Scottish Rugby has laid out plans for all clubs across the country to have resumed normal activity by June, excluding inter-club matches.
However, the governing body confirmed it will undertake a consultation with clubs before confirming the 2021/22 season structure in May.