Well, the season is off to a flying start! We had a couple of warm-up games that were a huge success, with a lot of players getting some preseason game time, followed by the massively successful Family Day, which saw the 1st & 2nd XV sides taking on OMTs and St Albans respectively, followed by live music, a BBQ, player initiations and a raffle with some fantastic prizes donated by our new Tabard Community Partners.
The 1st XV got their first league win on 15th September away at OVs, scoring 9 tries, which set them up nicely for their run in against London Welsh the following weekend. Whilst in the 2nd XV, we managed to get two preseason friendlies under our belts, before taking on Hemel Hempstead in our first league match – where we took 20 players! I am told that this level of participation in senior men’s rugby at Tabard is unheard of in recent years. There is some real talent and strength in depth in our squad this year, with 20-25 players regularly training, and you can really feel the buzz!
Now that most of the players have got their subscriptions paid, my attention is moving on to the social calendar for the year and really trying to develop a much more cohesive relationship between the players of both sides, and with the club and other sectors of the membership and the local community.
With that in mind, here are a few things I’ve been getting excited about this season…
- The Family Day was a huge success, and we are really thankful that so many mini and junior players and families showed up to support us on a Saturday. We are now planning a couple of Sundays when we can get senior players down to assist with coaching some of our budding future first teamers.
- Our Fundraising Co-ordinator, Josh Van Leon, and I are organising a Charity Darts Night on 6th October in aid of Sarcoidosis UK in memory of Ivor Jones. This will mostly be attended by senior players, but also attending will be a team of senior club members and friends of Tabard organised by Ross Hopcroft.
- We are currently in the process of organising Radlett’s only public fireworks display, alongside Newberries School and numerous other local benefactors. This will be an excellent opportunity for local people to learn a bit more about Tabard and realise what a welcoming, family oriented club we are.
- Last year’s Movember effort was a huge success. This year, it will be bookended by an event in association with OddBalls where they will be dishing out their limited edition Tabard beanies, and our Moustache Party where we will be celebrating all our fundraising and facial hair success whilst dressed as Freddie Mercury or Magnum PI.
- With a few Tabard rugby free weekends in February, Harry Gough and I are organising a mini-tour to watch Gloucester v Saracens at the Kingsholm Stadium.
- I am really hoping to bring back a more formal approach to the Players’ End of Season event this season, hopefully with a formal dress code, partners invited, a served meal, plenty of pomp and ceremony and a good old fashioned disco into the night.
- Rugby Tour! It seems to me that a rugby club isn’t really a rugby club without a good end of season tour. I am already working with a couple of operators to find the best deal out there and hope to start collecting money towards this very soon.
In my experience, there is so much more to a rugby club than last weekend’s first team result, and this is particularly true for a club as well established and with as many members as Tabard. The social and community culture of the club must be developed and encouraged, just as much as the players are pushed to become fitter and better drilled during training sessions.
I really hope that in my first season as Club Captain I can help to promote some of these ideas and to assist in creating a One Club atmosphere amongst the senior men’s and wider club community.
Onwards and upwards!