Coventry Clubs Forge Partnership
Coventry clubs forge long term pathway
Betfred League One Coventry Bears and local amateur club Coventry Dragons have forged a new relationship that can strengthen both clubs and create a new and lasting pathway in the game that will reinforce the sport in the city and West Midlands.
Both clubs have taken huge strides forward in recent years and the time was right to have a player pathway agreement between both clubs which will see Bears squad players supporting the Dragons to get valuable game time while aspiring new local talent a path in the other direction from senior amateur rugby league to the Bears.
The Dragons who have developed into one of the strongest amateur clubs in the Midlands are taking the step to a higher level by entering the London premier league in 2018, this will put the Dragons in a position where they will get regular league games at a higher level than previously and also widen the appeal for new players joining the club who could have an opportunity to showcase themselves to the Bears.
Bears Head Coach Tom Tsang explains how the relationship will work;
“The Dragons have proven themselves to be a real force Regionally and now stepping up to play in the London Premier league clearly demonstrates their ambition and desire to test themselves at a higher level.
In Mark they have a passionate coach who, as a former Bears player, really understands the family ethos of the club and has instilled that at the Dragons.
The partnership creates a real and visible pathway for local, talented players to gain experience and eventually progress to semi pro rugby league and beyond.
The likes of Dan Gover and Harry Kaufman have proven this is possible and now by formalising this link, we hope more players will take the same opportunity.”
Dragons president Clive Jackson commented about how this can benefit his club;
“With The Dragons rapidly becoming one of the more successful teams in the Midlands from an amateur perspective - it was obvious that a further pathway into the Coventry Bears set up made sense.
Alan Robinson at the Bears has been instrumental in the Dragons success and has such a huge wealth of knowledge and experience that he is always willing to imprint on everyone. His contribution in the community made the decision to create a pathway even easier.
I thoroughly look forward to what the future holds for Rugby League in Coventry and I could not be more proud of the lads that are representing The Bears today who were once playing with a Dragons shirt.”
Dragons Head Coach Mark Hyslop spoke of how this pathway has already shown it can work for both clubs;
“The relationship that has been built between the two clubs has already proved to be a success. This year will prove to be an even bigger year for us both with the introduction of the Midlands Hurricanes Academy at Loughborough College.
There are players today representing the Bears that have utilised the pathway between the two clubs and have proven themselves within the professional arena.
At the same time there are players that are primarily considered Bears regulars that have represented The Dragons recently.
Tom has the opportunity to trust a local team that his players will be mentored and coached to a high level if for whatever reason they have not made the match day squad.
It gives Tom the chance to have someone mould players that are possibly not quite ready for the big stage but have the potential to be professional athletes.
On a personal level I have a great relationship with Tom and I believe we both have a lot to offer each other in terms of experience.
I can’t wait for the season to start as I know it’s going be our best yet”
Bears CEO Alan Robinson said;
“The time is right for both clubs to take this step. I have been really impressed by how Clive Jackson, Kevin Ashford & Mark Hyslop have developed the club and been supportive to develop this partnership.
We are doing more and more in the community and this pathway will allow Bears Juniors to come through from schools at 16+ and experience senior rugby league at the right level before having an opportunity to develop even further towards League one if they want it. Having that pathway is fantastic for us all and the sport”