I took on the role of Chairman of the Rhyl Rugby Development Project just over two years ago, and now seems as good a time as any to take stock and reflect on two of the most interesting and rewarding  years of my entire career.

The Project is currently in an acutely frustrating period of suspended animation, as we wait for the Welsh Government to adjudicate on our Community Facilities Grant application for £490,000. If we are successful it will trigger an avalanche of activity to bring our proposed Community Centre and Sports’ Facility into full use. However, let’s not jump the gun, but consider how we came to find ourselves in this position.

The Project Management Team.

It is a truism that every successful organisation is a function of its people, and in this regard Rhyl Rugby has been exceptionally well served. The Project Management Team came together in early 2015 and represents the key to our progress over the last two years, or so.

David Owen, as Finance Director, took control of the Club’s finances and his exemplary work on setting up our new operating company, Rhyl & District RFC Ltd, and its wholly owned subsidiary, Rhyl Rugby Services Ltd, has underpinned everything we have achieved to date.

Iwan Prys Jones has overseen a wide variety of grant applications for the Project – the Welsh Government Community Facilities Grant for £490,000, WREN for £50,000, the WRU for £25,000, Sport Wales £15,000 and Gwynt y Mor Wind Farm £170,000. We patiently await news from the Welsh Government and we expect to hear from WREN later this month, the WRU and Sport Wales are highly supportive, but, sadly, the Gwynt y Mor application has lapsed, because of the delay by the Welsh Government. We will be able to re-apply should the Welsh Government come up trumps, but, because of the intense competition for the available funds, there is no guarantee that we will receive the same level of support. There are other potential sources of funding and Iwan is poised to pounce should the Welsh Government give us the nod.

A hearty vote of thanks is due to Chris Munro, the WRU Facilities and Investment Manager, who has led us firmly and effectively throughout the whole process. His guidance and expert advice have proved invaluable, and he has fully bought into the Project as though he were a full team member. Then there are our Club Secretary, Tony Evans, who has kept us all up to scratch with a veritable rain forest of minutes, and Dai Roberts, the quiet man of the debate, with a nice line in pithy interjections when our discussions might be straying off line.

Our Properties.

For Rhyl Rugby’s part, we are not just going round with a begging bowl, but have been actively marketing our two properties, the Waen and Vale Road. While we take nothing for granted until contracts are signed, the indications are that the sale of our assets will realise some £600,000 between them. The overall cost of the Project is likely to be in the order of at least £1.5 million, so there are still significant funds to be raised and Gwynt y Mor and the Big Lottery have been identified as targets.

Of fund-raising, we are also running a programme of events, such as the recent dinner for “Rugby Looks After Its Own” where Shane Williams held his audience spellbound, enabling the Club to support one of our players after a serious injury, as well as putting money aside for the Project. The next event on our calendar is the Rhyl Rugby Golf Challenge at Rhuddlan Golf Club on Thursday, 1st  June, with money being raised to pay our share of the Rugby Hub Officer at Rhyl HS.

Tynewydd Field Lease.

The negotiations with Denbighshire County Council to conclude the 125 year lease they had offered us were long and detailed. Ably assisted by Glyn Morrice Evans of Gamlins Law, David Owen and Meirion Hughes went through the discussion points with a fine-tooth comb. The upshot was, in the first instance, a 25 year lease to enable us to immediately undertake the building works for the Project, with a built-in agreement to extend the term to the full 125 year lease at a time of our choosing.

Meirion Hughes also distinguished himself by running our very successful Community Consultation Programme, which was designed to inform the local community of our plans, and to enable our future neighbours to have a voice in the final details of the plans. Another vote of thanks here to Councillor Brian Blakeley, who has supported the Project from the start and who has been unfailingly helpful in maintaining the best possible relationship with Denbighshire County Council.

Planning Permission.

The first and crucial result of this good relationship was the granting of Planning Permission for the Tynewydd Field site in early 2016. The permission included a building of just under 1,000 square metres, approximately five-eighths Community and Social Centre, including sports’ clubhouse facilities, and three-eighths changing rooms, shower facilities, toilets, medical and weights rooms. The plans also include a main rugby pitch, a floodlit practice pitch, two 60 metre by 35 metre junior pitches and a substantial car and coach park. At this point, our grateful thanks are due to Glyn Jones for his input and expertise as our in-house Planning expert.

It is worth noting that our Sports & Social Club on Vale Road currently hosts a remarkable 19 Community Groups, ranging from a weekly Fun Club Disco for adults with learning difficulties, to Over 50s Lunches, a Ladies’ Choir and to regular use by the Blood Transfusion Service. All 19 of these groups will be following us to Tynewydd Field, where they will be joined by a range of new groups proposed by Communities First, such as Family Learning and Basic Skills sessions, Homework Clubs, Residents’ Associations and a Military Veterans’ drop in facility.

Great credit for the success of the Sports & Social Club goes to Lee Blackmore, the Club Steward and local rugby legend.


While we are waiting for a decision from the Welsh Government, our immediate plans are to re-lay the entire playing area. The process will entail the chemical spraying and removal of all the vegetation, removing the topsoil to a depth of several feet, then mixing it with specially selected additional soil to raise the level of the playing surfaces to above the highest potential level of the water table. The whole playing surface will then be re-seeded, with a view to it being playable in the autumn of 2018.

Should we receive a favourable response from the Welsh Government, the main construction phase will commence. It is expected to last some 8/10 months, and, with a fair wind, the building should be complete by the summer of 2018.

Rhyl Rugby.

In our concentration on the Development Project, we have not forgotten that, first and foremost, we are a Rugby Club, and the season just finishing has seen some notable successes.

At one end of the spectrum our Junior Section continues to thrive, with 200 plus youngsters enjoying our interpretation of the “Rugby Pathway,” with enthusiastic and committed coaches, along with considerable (and much-appreciated) parental involvement. Consider the potential growth available to us when we are operating within the town of Rhyl, and consider the contribution to the health and well-being of Rhyl’s youngsters that this will bring about.

Our Community Rugby Programme continues to gather pace under Gareth Pates, our Liaison Officer. A successful programme run last summer in conjunction with North Wales Police is to be replicated this summer, there will be a SuperTag non-contact rugby programme for all ages and a Summer Touch-Rugby league for Mums and Dads. In addition, we have the outstanding contribution of Alessandra Lewis, now completing her first year as the WRU Rugby Hub Officer at Rhyl HS.

Our Youth players continue to acquit themselves well and several of them have made the step up to First Team rugby, where they have uniformly made an excellent impression. We are delighted that our First XV has finished the season with a flourish, winning the last four games, 3 with bonus points for scoring four or more tries, and rounding off the season with a 156 – 0 victory over Holyhead, who are to be congratulated on their courage in sticking to the task and completing the full 80 minutes. We have certainly earned our promotion to the 2nd Division of the newly revised league structure in North Wales.

Rugby is the team game ‘par excellence’ and our teams of players, coaches, supporters, team managers, administrators and Club Directors stand on the threshold of a major step forward. I thank everyone for their contribution to date, but now, as the fully fledged Club Chairman, I also issue a warning that the next 12 to 18 months fits perfectly the phrase, ”You ain’t seen nothin’, yet!”

Richard Greenwood       -              Club Chairman and Chairman of the Board of Directors

On behalf of the Directors of Rhyl & District RFU Ltd:

 Tony Evans, David Owen, Meirion Hughes, Iwan Prys Jones and Phil Blakoe.

4th May, 2017.