Charity bike ride proved a great team-builder for Plym Vic’s return to league rugby

PLYMPTON Victoria say a 525-mile charity bike ride was the perfect team-building exercise ahead of their return to the RFU’s league structure for the 2023-24 season.

A host of Plym Vic players cycled from the club’s St Mary’s ground to Newcastle Falcons’ Kingston Park, via all the other Premiership rugby grounds in England.

It was to raise money for The Bike Network – an organisation founded by their new signing Adam Froggatt which gives bicycles and equipment free of charge to people affected by cancer throughout the UK.

He had seen at first-hand the physical and mental benefits of cycling after treatment for bowel cancer.

“It was a brilliant team-building exercise,” said Plym Vic’s Chris Hunt. “As chairman I was exceptionally proud of all of them in what they achieved and how they achieved it

“It was a roaring success – apart from Adam getting knocked off his bike in Manchester and dislocating his shoulder and breaking a couple of ribs. He was actually very lucky.

“But the up-shot was we made over £6,000 for the charity and spread our name over all the rugby clubs of Britain.”

After some turbulent times, Plym Vic are a club that have really grown over the last couple of years after finding a new home at St Mary’s in Plympton.

And they are now about to return the RFU structure after four seasons playing in the Devon Merit Table.

For the 2023-24 campaign they will be in Counties Three Devon South, alongside the likes of Tamar Saracens, Old Techs, Tavistock II and Plymstock Albion Oaks II.

Plym Vic, who came fourth in their Devon Merit Table league last season, said it was an easy decision to make once they knew Kingsbridge II, Tavistock II, Torquay Athletic II and Saltash II were applying to join the RFU league structure.

“It was a decision that made itself, to be honest,” said Hunt.

“I got a message from the three teams that finished above us saying that they wanted to go up. They wanted us to be forearmed and forewarned and I then messaged the teams that were left. Saltash said they were applying to join the Cornwall League and so we applied to join the Devon League.

“We could have stayed where we were in the Merit Table, but I could not have guaranteed our primary goal which is organised rugby for the team.

“The last thing I wanted to do was play the same three teams four times a year as that is just devastatingly boring. I would rather us have a go and see what happens.

“It’s exciting times.”

He added: “We have lost a couple of guys, but that happens, however we have attracted a few new guys, which is nice.

“We have also managed to bring in a couple of old boys from my day who are going to come and help with the management side.”

Among those ‘old boys’ is Ben Towle, whose son Harry has joined them from Ivybridge youth,

Hunt added: “As far as the league is concern, we shall just have to see how it goes.

“The league does not look too far removed from the league we left five years ago. They will always be a bunch of middle teams, one or two that will probably struggle – hopefully that is not us this time around – and there’s normally one or two teams that straight away you can say they are going to be strong.

“We know we can give most teams a run for their money on our day – we’ll just have to make sure we are on our day more often than not.

“We have explained to the lads that there will be a different flavour to this season and there will certainly be a different onus to commitment. I can’t be ringing around asking ‘who fancies a game?’ because we are now in a structured league.

“There is going to have to be a step up in commitment and probably a bit of squad rotation, but I don’t see that as a bad thing as it gives everyone a decent crack at it and a chance to prove what they can do.

“We have got some handy boys and I am looking forward to it. I’m not sure what it will bring, but it’s all a bit of an adventure and all new.”

Plym Vic will start their preparations next Saturday when they play OPM II in a pre-season friendly. They will also play the Plymouth Dolphins the following Saturday before a week off and then playing Saltash II.

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