It’s been reported today that West Wales Raiders will not compete in the upcoming 2023 League One season thus meaning the league will become a 10-team division.
Raiders were one of two Welsh professional sides alongside Crusaders who they shared the Welsh derby with over past seasons, having joined League One in 2018.
Various other League One clubs and rivals have shared the news, as well as an RFL statement, but Raiders themselves have posted on their Facebook page explaining the sad decision.
“It’s with great sadness that we have to write this but the West Wales Raiders will not be competing within the RFL professional league in the 2023 season.
“The club informed the RFL on Wednesday that they will not be taking part in either competition this season.
“After 5 seasons within the professional ranks both Andrew & Peter felt it was the right time to give someone else an opportunity to try and take the club on within the sport. Numerous parties have shown interest but most have fallen once they realised how much personal finances and time is needed to run a club within league 1.
“The Raiders began back in 2015 and had 2 seasons in the amateur leagues before entering league 1 in 2018, since then there has been a lot of ups and downs. The club has had great pleasure to have been involved with the professional ranks for the past 5 seasons and felt, regardless of results, that we kept up with many of the larger teams with our ‘off the pitch’ work.
“The owners will continue to support the RFL & WRL to try and find a new group to keep a professional club within Wales especially after all the great work being done within the community by WRL over the past 12 months.
“Part owner Peter Tiffin added “It’s taken us both (Peter & Andrew) a long time to come to this decision, it’s been a difficult one to make as we have grown the club from an amateur club back in Mynydd y Garreg to playing against the likes of Bradford Bulls and Widnes at Stebonheath Park. Raiders was something that we both were proud to say we created from scratch, there has been so many highlights that it would be hard just to state a few. I want to thank every single person who has been involved with the club from day 1 to now as without you the club could have never been able to continue. The players, staff, sponsors, directors, supporters, volunteers and many others who have been involved, I want to thank you all for every single effort you have shown to the club and I hope you continue within the game and support WRL with their efforts on the future of the sport within Wales. Myself and Andrew will continue to support both RFL & WRL and endeavour to try and find a new group to keep a club within the professional ranks from Wales.”
The Raiders amassed just two wins in 86 games but brought a lot to the competition and more importantly Welsh rugby league and there loss is certainly a sad one.
League One will resume in 2023 but with a shortened 18 game fixture list for each side instead of the proposed 20 games.
The league will still operate as a 22 round competition, having had to earlier facilitate the odd number of teams by utilising bye weeks, meaning each team will now receive four bye weeks to rest up.
In addition to the domestic league alteration there will be a further two sides added to the Challenge Cup first-round draw at Wembley in January with Barrow Island and Crosfields set to be in the hat.