Following another unprecedented weekend of injuries, the decision has been made to not expose the heavily depleted squad to yet further injury. The scheduled PapaJohns Cup match on 22 April vs Bedford Athletic will not now take place.
2022/23 can only be described as a perfect storm in the injury stakes. A review of almost every match report this season will depict a picture of one serious injury after another. Sadly, last weekends Round 2 fixture with Maidenhead in the PapaJohns Cup was no different.
The #lwfamily faithful at ODP will have witnessed the departure from the field of star players Tom Hunt and Tololima Savaiinaea within the first 20 minutes- both with injuries that see them sidelined for several weeks. However, the most serious injury fell upon second row Ben Watts: the talented lock dislocated his shoulder after 5 minutes and now faces a long road back and surgery, a guideline timescale being 16 weeks to 6 months!
The latest injuries come at a time when no less than 18 players are unavailable due to the compound impact of an injury hit season; including 5 with concussion protocols still running.
This season has seen the retirement of three big players through injury in September and October (Will Ponty, Tom Baldwin both concussion – and Adan Cole having fractured his skull and eye socket in Round 6 of the league). In addition, Jack Anderson dislocated his knee in Round 4 and Jacob Bulter suffered a full MCL tear in Round 16, the following players have been ruled out for the season for some weeks Ewan Gully, Jack Burnett, Ed Couzens, Rohan Pixley, Rhys Howells, Jonathan Ilori, Elis Staines, Andy Black, James Downing and Adam Nixon. Ben West also being forced into retirement after Round 11 through repeated smaller injuries.
Such is the extent of current injury list that DoR Cai Griffiths came out of retirement in Round 1 of the PapaJohns Cup (after 2 seasons!) And last weekends Merit Premier Cup Final heralded a call up to the Druids 2nd XV of no less than 9 Colts Academy players to fill the void.
With the above situation and after a long season the decision has been taken that fielding a side in the Round 3 PapaJohns Cup game at home to Bedford would be at best irresponsible; a number of Colts Academy players would have been called into 1st XV action which would not have been fair on them or the travelling Bedford side. The decision has been taken early in the week to ensure clarity and so as to minimise impact upon our opposition.
In positive news: aside from the retirements through serious injury, all of the sick list will make a full recovery during the off-season and most should return during pre season (including Jack Anderson who really did look at one stage that he would not play again). It has been a successful season for the Performance Squad in what was always targeted as a consolidation campaign.
We thank all of the performance squad for their dedication this season and thank Bedford Athletic RFC for their understanding.
We thank all of the #lwfamily for their continued support and look forward to an exciting off season and to updating you all on exciting plans, retention and recruitment for the 2023/24 league campaign.