From me and on behalf of the executive team may we wish you a very Happy Christmas as far as you are able again this year. Also let’s hope for a New Year when we can put Covid behind us and get back to a more normal life learning to live with it rather than letting it rule us.
A huge thank you to everyone who has supported the Rugby Club in any way this year; Our Members, Sponsors, Volunteers, Spectators and all those parents, relations, guardians and others who bring the young people down every weekend and during the week and support their participation and development in Rugby. A particular shout out to the army of volunteer coaches, captains, team managers, fixtures organisers and many others. The quality of the coaching, leadership and admin at the Club is second to none and the talent coming through from the Mini/Junior section through the youth in to the colts and up to adult rugby is impressive. The U16’s recently had 8 or 9 players selected for the county squad and other age grades report impressive recognition for their players. We should be proud that we have collaborated with Macclesfield College and are recruiting the first cohort of students to our very own rugby academy starting in September 2022. This is a professional set up and will deliver academic qualifications alongside rugby development for young people. If you know of any young person who might be interested, please put them in touch with Andy Appleyard at the Club. We can also boast around 15 of the 18 1st team squad members each week having come through the pathway of our own Club to play at level 5 rugby in the National leagues, and others who go on to play representative rugby for County and Country including in the Premiership and higher echelons of the game. We are one of the few rugby clubs that are able to turn out four senior men’s teams every week and the leadership in the 2nds, 3rds and 4ths work very hard to achieve this. Numbers are short so if anyone out there wants to get their boots back on and join in the fun, please contact the Club and we will point you in the right direction. We can be very proud that on one Saturday this season we have hosted four games, all at home on the one day. Those of you who were there will remember it well.
We have broadened participation in the game with the Women’s team becoming more established and with the introduction of girl’s rugby, establishing a pathway for the girls through the age grades to adult rugby. Pip Gregory has been reaching out to the schools and colleges in the community to encourage more girls to come and join us. The participation of the women’s team and supporters has contributed hugely to the life of the Club. And what can I say about the walking rugby group. This group has grown from a core of 6 and now has over 50 members. They turn out every week irrespective of the weather, the wetter the better! And they add hugely to the social life of the Club.
The social life of the Rugby Club continues to thrive under the stewardship of Andy Appleyard and his dedicated team including Maggie and Barry who deliver a first-class catering service for the Club. We welcome Andrew McDermott as our new bar manager. Together with Katie, Patrick, Millie and others this group makes sure that the functions and events held at the Club are well organised and deliver a great service for us to enjoy. The social calendar has never been so full. We have had Comedy nights, Oktoberfest, The Priory Park Horror, Christmas lunch, President’s lunch, Virtual rugby tours and many other events all planned by this small team. A special thanks to David Wilkinson and his colleagues from MADS for organising the very successful Priory Park Horror again this year.
Of course, functions and events are only as good as the people who attend and support them so a big thank you to everyone who has supported the social life of the Club this year. We have lots of fun and the revenue we generate enables us to maintain, improve and develop the facilities of the Club for the future. Two big projects on the horizon are to bring the 5 acres of field to the rear of the main pitch back in to use and to extend the clubhouse and improve the player facilities downstairs and the hospitality facilities upstairs. We will keep the membership informed as these progress.
The fun we have is borne out by me having rediscovered the stone in weight I had managed to lose during the first lockdown….and we are only at the halfway point in the season!
Once again thank you everyone for your support to our great Rugby Club so far this season. There is plenty to look forward to on and off the pitch when we return early in the New Year and your continued support for the Club is very welcome and much appreciated.
Happy Christmas – Chaos