Dear Secretary and Chairman
"As you are aware the weather over the last couple of months has been exceptionable with little if any rain and temperatures reaching the mid 30s degrees centigrade. Although some rain is forecast for this weekend for the south of England it well could miss Hertfordshire and the long range forecast for the next few weeks, shows another high pressure band coming into the country bringing more warm weather and lack of rain.
This means that pitches at the moment, in general, are very hard and would need significant rain to impact on this state. I know that many clubs have been watering their main pitch and that means they are in a reasonable shape. That is not true for all clubs and most clubs have no facilities for watering their other pitches used for lower adult, youth, mini and women's rugby. These pitches are also often the training areas for clubs. Add to this that training for and the playing of rugby in the hot weather can lead to dehydration and there is potential for serious injury and risk to health.
It is not the function of The Hertfordshire R.F.U. to rule on whether rugby should go ahead in these circumstances but to offer guidance and to point out the responsibility of clubs and their duty of care to their players of all age groups and genders. Bearing in mind that under "age group regulations" the season for contact rugby does not open until 9th September, I must therefore strongly remind you of your obligations to your players and ask that common sense prevails at all levels. If you think the risks to health of training or playing on a surface and or due to hot weather conditions are greatly increased then don't play! If your pitch resembles the plains of the Serengeti at the end of the dry season and that playing on it will sound like a herd of wildebeest, then again use common sense and don't do it. If one team considers the pitch to be unsafe, then they are entitled to refuse to play - no team can be compelled to play if they consider the playing surface to be dangerous. The Herts Referees Society’s long standing position is that a Society referee will not referee a game if he or she considers the pitch or its surroundings to be unsafe, even if the teams are ready to play
Your youth and mini chairman will be receiving direct advice from Tim Bonnett, please get them to read it and take note. You may also receive further advice from Peter Brady as regards the adult game. We are monitoring the situation and the advice will reflect the weather conditions, which we all know can change without warning."
Adrian K Sparks Secretary To Hertfordshire Rugby Football Union
Updated 14:29 - 10 Aug 2018 by Ian Fear