RAMS CEO Gary Reynolds is confident supporters at Old Bath Road will enjoy an even better experience when rugby is allowed to return, writes Richard Ashton.
While it is almost 11 months since last season’s National One runners-up played a competitive game, much work has been done at the ground.
Gary said: “It was March 14 last year we last played at Cinderford in an absolutely fantastic game.
“It’s been very tough for all sports clubs in the country and people involved in team sports do it for a certain reason.
“We’ve got an outstanding committee and everyone on it wanted to make the best use of the downtime to improve the facilities for when we get to the other side of this pandemic.”
He continued: “We first of all went to work on our pitches because we are really short of space for the amount of rugby which is played at Old Bath Road.
“Those pitches take a lot of wear and as we knew we were going to have a longer off-season and an amazing amount of work went in thanks to Roddy and Amanda Vaughan, two outstanding volunteers every rugby club need.
“The pitches have been seeded, drilled, sanded, re-seeded, verti-drained and just about anything which can make the grass better has been done – John Cook (1st XV captain in the 1960s), one of our longest-standing members, said he’s never seen them so good and that is praise indeed.”
“Traditionally we’ve had to kick off at 2pm because we don’t have lights, but we put an application in and Wokingham Borough Council were fantastic in helping and we’ve been able to install those 350-lux lights which are the quality needed for a floodlit Championship game.
“We are replacing the old halogen lights on Pitch Two to ensure a brighter training area and reduce our electricity costs at the same time.
“These will be supplemented by additional LED lights on the towers overlooking the minis training area to increase the evening training areas for the senior men and women’s teams and junior boys and girls teams.
“We also wanted to look at how we can improve the viewing quality for people who come to watch, so thanks to (chairman) Andy Lynch, we’ve built a platform for wheelchairs right by the clubhouse, which will be great.”
A permanent food and drink shack has also been installed and Gary concluded: “The last thing is the 300-seater stand which is being worked on as we speak.”