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Marcus Cattell hoping Bishop's Stortford will get to take part in a cup competition following RFU decision to cancel 2020-21 National League One season




Bishop's Stortford's Marcus Cattell hopes a small regional competition could salvage something from the rugby season following the cancellation of the 2020-21 National League One campaign.

No league fixtures have been possible due to the coronavirus crisis and the RFU has decided to end discussions over the possibility of getting a meaningful season in.

Cattell, his fellow joint head coach Tom Coleman and the players are now waiting for further announcements from the game's governing body and the Government regarding some potential competitive action.

Bishop's Stortford joint head coach Marcus Cattell, centre, during a training session. Picture: Vikki Lince
Bishop's Stortford joint head coach Marcus Cattell, centre, during a training session. Picture: Vikki Lince

"It's not all rugby being cancelled, it's just the league fixtures you'd normally expect to play," said Cattell. "We're looking forward to seeing what the RFU will offer us as an alternative.

"I think something will happen like a regional cup competition or league against teams from a similar level in our local area."

The National Clubs Association, which represents Stortford and their fellow National League One, North and South sides, are also hopeful some rugby will be possible before the season is out.

"We are still very optimistic that some form of competitive rugby for NCA clubs this season will be proposed in the immediate future to enable players, supporters and commercial partners the opportunity to get back into the rugby environment," said NCA chairman and broadcaster John Inverdale.

"Talks are ongoing with the Government, and the NCA exec is doing everything possible to make sure that clubs at our level are able to plan for the next six months, from a rugby playing perspective, but also to enable clubs to reboot commercially."

Cattell and Coleman were looking forward to taking charge of the first team having been handed the reins following the departure of director of rugby Andy Long at the end of last term.

The joint head coaches are now preparing for at least a month off due to the new national lockdown measures before training can resume.

"We were going to have two weeks off anyway so that's been extended by another two weeks, assuming the new lockdown even ends on December 2," said Cattell.

"We've been training for 14 weeks, with a couple of weeks off, since July so this news changes what we can do slightly.

"I think anything after this year will be quite easy to manage, but the boys have trained really hard and been very professional which has made things easier.

"Hopefully when we can start playing some rugby we can hit the ground running and show what we're about.

"The boys are probably the fittest they've been because we've been able to keep the intensity levels quite high in training knowing there were no league games."



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