Friday, November 13, 2015

News: Titans win court case

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Rotherham Titans, the borough's rugby union club, has won a court case following action taken by its landlords in a long running dispute over the Clifton Lane ground.

The Championship club, who ended the season in the playoffs to reach English Rugby's Premiership again last year, have encountered difficulties with the landlords of their Clifton Lane ground, the Rotherham Athletic Company, and ground sharing Rotherham Town cricket club.

Each year the rugby and cricket playing seasons overlap, meaning the Titans cannot use the Clifton Lane ground for the opening and closing matches of the season. The Titans played their opening 2015/16 Championship fixture on local playing fields as a "one-off" arrangement with the Council.

The legal battle went to Sheffield Crown Court yesterday.

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In a statement, the rugby club said: "The action, described by the judge as premature and a procedural shambles, concerned a strip of grass on which our camera gantry stands.

"Whilst the judge found in our favour we have constantly stated that the action should never have been taken and this issue should have been resolved through discussion and negotiation.

"One result of the judge finding in our favour was that the Athletic Company and Cricket club not only have to pay their own costs but ours as well. These are monies which could have been better spent looking after the interests of the two sports.

"We fervently hope that if there are any future issues relating to the ground these can be resolved through discussions between all parties."

Clifton Lane has long been a sporting venue in Rotherham, having been the original home to Rotherham Town Football Club in 1882. Ironically, difficulties with the tenancy agreement from the cricket club meant that Town had to move in 1891.

When Clifton Lane was sold to the newly formed Rotherham Athletic Company in 1905, three of the vendors were cricket representatives, hence why the lease seems to favour the cricket team. A lease for rugby at Clifton Lane was due to expire this year.

In the longer term, options being discussed as potential new sites for the Titans include the Phoenix Sports club at Brinsworth, the former OutoKumpu site acquired by Rotherham United for training facilities, the Legacy Park at Don Valley, which will be home to the Sheffield Eagles Rugby League Club in 2016, as well as greenfield sites in the borough.

In May, Nick Cragg and Martin Jenkinson announced that they would like to step back from their custodianship of rugby club and invited interested parties and individuals to come forward and take Titans to the next level.

Rotherham Titans website

Images: Rotherham Titans / Select Images Photography

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