Teague: Return home may spark boost to playing ranks
GLOUCESTER All Blues will make their long-awaited return to their Oxleaze ground this weekend and chairman Gary Teague hopes players will soon follow suit.
The club made famous by former British and Irish Lion Mike Teague, who began his glittering career there, have been unable to enjoy the comforts of home since November.
The autumn downpours caused devastating flooding to an already saturated piece of land from the wet summer which meant that they were forced to find a new temporary ground.
Changing rooms, kit containers, mobile lights, training kit, showers, the boiler and other parts of the club were completely ruined.
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The last time the first team played a Gloucester Division Two fixture at Castlemeads Way was on November 15, ironically against Spartans, who they travel to today.
Up until that point the Blues were looking a strong bet for promotion after five wins in six games before November.
But then the rains came and washed away their title chances, with just one victory being recorded since then, against Cainscross on January 12.
Chairman Teague says it is the seconds team that have suffered most from the predicament and as a result many players have left.
A special meeting was called at the club this week to show support for the second string as they currently sit second in Reserve League Four North.
With the seconds hosting Old Cryptians II in a merit table fixture today, Teague hopes that could be the spark that brings waves of players back to the club.
He said: "We have played home fixtures at Gordon League and Coney Hill so far and our last home game was at the Recreation Ground in Newent last week.
"Due to this nomadic existence, the first team's results have suffered and we are currently mid-table in the league and will probably miss out on promotion.
"The coaches, Matt Teague and Craig Ballinger, have done a marvellous job of keeping the lads together.
"We would also like to thank the other Combination Clubs for their support including Tredworth and Brockworth for use of their training facilities.
"But a special second team meeting was called this week to show support for them as they have suffered more from the disruption.
"The team mainly only come together on match days and we need players to turn up and play, with new and former players all welcome.
"As a matter of pride we have not whinged about our difficulties until now but we called the meeting to resolve any issues and get the players on the field this week.
"We just want our players to be aware that we are backing them."
There is hope on the horizon for the club after they managed to secure an Emergency Grant from the RFU for flood damage repairs which Teague says they are grateful for.
Unfortunately, other nearby clubs have not been as kind with two All Blues props being signed by local rivals without the players' consent, or even knowledge.
Teague's side then had to re-sign the players back again which meant that they were unable to play for the first team until the issue had been resolved.
As a result, it meant that 56-year-old prop Stack Hyam had to dust off his boots to play for the first team in the tenth tier of English rugby against Bream last week.
But Teague says that the matter is now being investigated by the appropriate authorities and wants to draw a line under it.