As you’ll all know, we’ve recruited an amazing and diverse squad of writers from all corners of the game, offering differing opinions, experiences and passions, which all blend together to make great content.
As the new season approaches, we thought we’d let you find out a little bit more about some of our writers and their respective clubs; after all, we’re all part of the #rugbyfamily!
I think most of you will be surprised at the contrasts between some of the sides our writers play for or are affiliated with, yet unsurprised by the one consistent theme that runs throughout; a huge passion for rugby!
Racal Decca RFC
Racal Decca RFC are based in Tolworth, Surrey and play in the Surrey Reserve Leagues. We are a one-team club who play purely for the love of the game rather than being any good at it! Our aim is to field a XV every week and increase our playing membership. Winning games isn't everything to us; simply playing the game we love.
My Club is Honiton RFC and they play in Devon/Cornwall Tribute league 2. I support this club as much as I can from my Surrey home, as it’s steeped in family history.
The pitch is council owned and the club now has a large playing membership with Mini’s, Youth, and Senior sections, including a newly formed Ladies team. Our small community grassroots club is currently extending the Clubhouse to cope with increasing players at all levels, which is remarkable. The extensions are being built by a number of volunteers (in true grassroots style) and when money is available. So, if you know anyone in this area who would like to get involved or donate please do contact me.
This season’s aspirations are for the club to remain in the league and continue to bring through and develop young players. We have a new Head Coach in Nathan Hannay, who returns to the club he played for before leaving to play Championship rugby for Ealing. Everyone is looking forward to season ahead!
Dorking RFC (words from Director of Rugby)
Establish themselves in National 3
Following relegation in 15/16, a 3-year plan was put in place to develop the club as quickly and effectively as possible. The first year there was an increase in 17, 18 and 19 year olds winning caps and now the club’s aim is to get more established in Nat 3, with the players main focus being a top 4 finish.
Promotion would of course be great but the primary goal is to establish a strong and consistent team, with a strong foundation of youth.
In the next 5 years:
The reality is, Dorking are always likely to be a feeder side and aid players on their journeys through the sport, so although it would be great to find ourselves in Nat 1 or the Championship, it’s never likely to happen. On the other hand, having an established side within the 4th tier of English rugby i.e. National League 2 South would be a great achievement.
Thus, our main focus is on 4th tier establishment and continuing to produce a high calibre of players – the likes of George Kruis and Elliott Daly once played for us and we know that they’ll offer their support to us in the future.
St Ives RFC
My club is St Ives RFC (Cambs), not to be confused with the one in Cornwall (though quite a few fixtures secretaries do). Our vision for 2017-18 is for our 1st XV to gain promotion from their league, and for the 2nd team to evolve into a proper development side, embracing the culture of nurturing youth that has driven us forward over the past season. Indeed, our mini and youth teams are some of the strongest in the region thanks to some excellent coaches, and we will continue to grow and nurture these young players, as they're critical to the club's future success.
Two seasons ago we were promoted to Women's Championship Northern Division 2, having completed an unbeaten season, which was amazing. Since then, it’s been a case of avoiding relegation and last season we fell very close to failing that, finishing just three places above to drop zone.
This was due to a very inconsistent season with injuries affecting the starting XV each week, which stopped us from forming any chemistry on the pitch. We’ve also analysed our training sessions and identified areas for improvement this season – hopefully we can enjoy a more consistent season as a result!
Our goals for next season include: finishing in a more positive position in the table (mid table), improve our rugby, better organisation at training to positively impact games and win more games than we lose; Oh and of course, enjoy the game!
Michelle Harvey (words from DoR John Hughes)
Westcombe Park RFC
This season it’s great to have some pre-league day rivals back in our competition and I can’t wait to watch our lads take the field against Sidcup and Tunbridge Wells. It doesn’t matter whether you played in the 1960s, 80s or now – rivalry and competition are the ultimate drivers.
Combe is respected by the many clubs we play, either in the adult game or the mini and junior sides that form our youth set up. The players, parents, coaches and managers are welcomed and encouraged to participate in every club activity and play and train in our inclusive approach where everyone gets game and training time. This means our values (Hard Work, Humility, Honesty, Be the best I can be, One Club – One Combe) are shared by many within Kent and the South East and as players mature and parents volunteer for jobs, Combe’s family atmosphere grows from strength to strength.
Our aims are to set small targets each week and achieve and improve them, as it’s the little things that matter. We all understand what we are building in the senior squad; it’s a case of trying to win each game and improve every week, whilst learning from mistakes and becoming stronger each week. This approach means we can achieve our mission, which is to gain promotion for the 1st and 2nd teams.
It’s great to hear from some of our writers about the prospects and goals of their club’s this year. We wish both our writers, their clubs and the rest of the grassroots rugby community a successful 2017/18 campaign – just remember to enjoy it!