Colts League History...
During the 1998/99 season Members of Frank Morgan's Lancashire Colts Committee expressed concerns over the numbers of Youth Players hemorrhaging the game at the Colts age-grade. They conceived a plan to introduce League Rugby to Club based Colts Teams; thereby providing a conduit from Junior Rugby to the Senior game.
Subsequently a survey of all Lancashire Clubs revealed an insufficient number of Colts Teams to form a meaningful league within the Senior County... so after productive discussions with their neighbours from Cheshire, and with the blessing of the RFU, the Lancashire & Cheshire (RFU) Colts League was formed for the 1999/2000 season in a partnership between the Lancashire Colts and the Cheshire Youth Committees.
It was hoped that experiencing competitive Rugby week-in / week-out in an organised League structure would prove to be of interest to these Young Players, and would assist those Clubs who committed to the Colts League with Player Retention, Recruitment, and Development.
The inaugural 1999/2000 Colts League season saw 25 entries at Senior (U19's) Colts, and 25 at Junior (U17's) Colts, and thereafter the number of Teams grew steadily to a peak of 50 Teams at each age-group (100 in Total) in the 2008/2009 season.
The NW Colts League had always supported the inclusion of U19's Players; however with many U19 players being away at University a survey of the Membership in 2014 opted for a move to U18 leagues which were adopted for the 2014/2015 season.
Many Clubs have benefitted from their commitment to the Colts League and a multitude of success stories exist throughout the North West where many current 1st XV, 2nd XV, and 3rd XV Players have come up through the Colts Ranks in recent seasons.
Eccles RFC's April 2012 programme contained the following note from Chairman: Andy Brunt.
All Eccles Teams on Saturday have been very well reinforced by the Colts this year. As an example of the benefit of the Colts teams over the last 12 years or so, last weeks seconds who gained promotion in beating Ormskirk consisted of 12 ex colts, 2 current colts, three new arrivals and one ex colts Dad, Gary Hamer, who actually played for an Eccles Colts team once in a distant life. Last Saturdays First XV had 12 ex colts and 2 current colts in their squad. We have ex Colts as our Head Coach and Backs Coach !
Preliminary & Conference Leagues...
From the 2016/2017 season the Colts League moved to adopt an alternative structure introducing a 7 weekend Prelim' Season, followed by a 14 weekend Conference Season.
This allows an amount of re-structuring between the two seasons should it prove necessary and beneficial.
Leagues can be re-jigged; moving Teams incorrectly seeded or filling slots vacated by Teams who have withdrawn from the League.
Should anyone have any Colts League anecdotes or facts they feel will enhance this page please forward to the HonSec for publication...
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