A PLEA has gone out to secure the future of Cardigan Rugby Club following a collapse in its junior section.

From having more than 250 children involved with the club around five years ago, numbers have plummeted to little more than 50.

The situation has become so desperate that the junior section is no longer able to field teams in the youth and 11-16 age groups, while the minis section is also seeing numbers falling.

And the fear is that without junior players coming through the ranks, that could have a huge knock-on effect with the first team and club as a whole.

“As a junior/mini section, the club is at a critical point in its survival. We are in dire straits and the simple message is ‘use us or lose us’,” said junior section chairman Anna Perkins.

“We need to all pull together – players, parents, coaches - to ensure not just the junior section but the club itself grows and thrives and gets back to grass roots and to what it should be, which is a community-based club.

“I appreciate many clubs are struggling to field teams but we simply cannot put out sides as we don’t have the numbers.”

Anna said there was no one reason for the decline – with Cardigan having to compete with neighbouring clubs for players – but she believes parents have a key role to play.

“We need the support and commitment of both parents and children if we are to turn things around. It’s a two-way thing and if the parents came along, they could make it a social thing. It seems we have lost that connection,” added Anna.

“And the success of the junior section is so important to that of the overall club. If we cannot turn this around, we are in big trouble.

“We have tried combining teams but even then we have not got the numbers and it did not work and we are now back to square one.

“We are open to any ideas or suggestions people may have to help. Please come down to the club or get in touch while we still have a junior section to support.”