Firstly the 1st XV progress. As I said in my last note it is key to staying up that you strengthen for the new league. We hope that our retention and recruitment has achieved that but you never know until you get out onto the pitch. Pre-season has gone quite well with a tournament win at Redingensians -or Rams as they are now known. Wins against O.A’s , Richmond and Esher in the final . We followed this at home with a very convincing win against London Irish Wild Geese 73-0 with some superb skills on show . To prevent any opposition score is equally pleasing. Finally we went to the Principality to take on the Men of Steel that are Ebbw Vale who play in the Welsh Premiership. The first half was quite convincing ending 7-48 in our favour . Both sides made a fair few changes at half time and the second half was a 5-5 draw. The good news was that there were no injuries so we approach our first league game with some difficult selection issues. For me what is really pleasing is that the new Guys have settled in incredibly well and are already getting the Chinnor “difference” A few of them have said how they had heard about it but now accept that it is real . They are all a great bunch of Guys that enjoy each other’s Company which is so very important in sport if you are to achieve . This is a testament to Matt and Ricky and to our two new Coaches Dan George and Paddy Gill who have also settled in incredibly well.
I would urge you to introduce yourselves to the new Guys and get to know them . You will enjoy their Company.
So now to the start of the real Business. A good pre-season is no guarantee that you will prosper and we start with one of the toughest fixtures any side might face this season against Plymouth Albion at their ground. I gather quite a few people are traveling down for this one and it will be great to hear the Chinnor faithful cheering us on. Now this is the first of my call to arms. The fact is that whilst our home support is fantastic we are not known for an army of away supporters . It would be great to think this might change and if there is anyone out there that would like to try and mobilize away support by starting car share schemes and away Supporters Coaches that would be a great start. I am personally looking forward to visiting for the first time some legendary Rugby grounds and some old rivals all over the Country and I have even persuaded Mrs V to come with me to some of them! This is an historic moment for Little Ole Chinnor and I intend to enjoy every moment and it would be great to share it with a lot of you.
This season will be tough. We have set a target of a minimum top half spot which looking at O. E’s and Bishops Stortford should be achievable but not without a lot of hard work, dedication and some great Supporter support. We see this season as somewhat of a welcome change from the heavy weight of expectation of last year when if we did not win every game there was a big sigh of disappointment . The Squad have been told to express themselves this Season and go out and enjoy it. I hope that you the Spectators will reap the benefit with some entertaining Rugby albeit with the occasional disappointment - not too many I hope.
Our first home game is the 8th September so do come along and why not come to lunch before the game.Great value season tickets are on sale now.
And on the matter of the Squad and Management we had such terrible news at the beginning of June when our Head Physio passed away after a short courageous battle with Cancer. Lauren figured greatly with our Squad and Management and many Members who knew her. I and many others were greatly affected by her bereavement . She was a burst of energy , a beaming ray of sunshine , a force for fun and determination who took no nonsense from the Big Fellas. I was very proud of the way the Squad looked after her before and after her passing . Lauren was a major part of their lives. She will stay with us throughout this season and beyond . The team will wear the new shirts with pride with her name on them . On the 8th September before the game we will celebrate her life so do please come along to the lunch or the game to help us do that . Our thoughts remain with her Parents and family.
On the matter of Support we have set ourselves a stiff target of additional revenue generation from sponsorship , match day revenue and events as well as efficiency savings. If anyone has any suggestions for additional sponsors or revenue generation then do let me or Mike Hughes know. Also volunteers for match day assistance on the gate , car parking or shop would be much appreciated and improve our bottom line. Please contact Greg our General Manager. firstname.lastname@example.org
On the matter of revenue we would be most grateful if those that haven’t paid their Membership fees would please. I am not sure how it passed me by that we have a discount for fees paid by end of September when we are in desperate need of the money at the beginning of the season and the Members are already enjoying the facilities. I will be recommending that the early bird discount ends on the 31st August next year.
We have purchased a Marquee that we will aim to have up as much as possible . The intention is to have four Super Saturdays along the lines of the play off which for those that were there know was good fun- apart from the tenseness of the Game! It was also the biggest grossing game in the Club’s history. The dates for these Super Saturday’s will be sent out shortly and will target family’s and a post game Party. We will also be able to take on outside events and the intention is to hold some new social events such as a New Years Eve Party and a May Players Ball which we haven’t held for many a year. Do bear it in mind for any Parties personal or corporate that you are thinking of.
We now have planning consent for the Grandstand the plans for which will be up at the Club for you to see. We have also submitted an application for a new building for a gym under the existing Barn and conversion of the existing gym to a dedicated ladies changing room . Again the plans will be put up in the Club for you to see. Had we not started watering the pitch, we would not have had a pitch to play on and this has highlighted the cost of water so we have determined to get a borehole that would substantially reduce our outgoings. We also intend to spend some £17k on improvements to floodlighting to the training areas . Of course all of these things cost money and the Board are investigating the way they might be funded. We are quite clear that unless there is clear evidence that any capital cost can support a loan by way of additional revenue then we need to find the monies from grants and internal sources. Stand by your beds for further information on this as it emerges
Turning to the Amateur side of rugby as always the challenge for the seniors is the 2nd XV which is a national issue facing most clubs. This is now exacerbated for us by our promotion that potentially increases the gap between the two levels. We are focusing on this a lot and are introducing some new initiatives to hopefully improve the attractiveness to potential players. We know that the simple solution would be to allow them into the Local leagues and it is a pity the RFU aren’t acting on this now.
The 3rd XV Wildboys appear in rude health again but the 4th XV also need some TLC s. So any suggestions would be welcome. The Vet’s are worried that they are getting a bit old so new Older players are to be encouraged.
Gregg Goodfellow has agreed to carry on coaching the Colts who had a very good season last year.
The Mini’s and Juniors are determined to not rest on their Laurels and that is important if we are to maintain our competitive edge. Our thanks to the legions of Parent Coaches and helpers who make it happen. And on the subject of Volunteers our President John Ashfield will be holding a lunch for them all at some stage.
We now have in place the Community scheme where we outreach to schools to provide Coaching. Ben Thomas is our full time coordinator so please say hello to him albeit you will risk cricking your neck-he is our new second row - you can’t miss him! He would love to hear of any introductions you can effect into schools . email@example.com
At the AGM the appointment to the Board of Gill Riley OBE and Grant Charter was confirmed. As a successful local businesswoman and whose son has played for Chinnor, Gill will provide no nonsense commentary and advise to assist the future direction of the Club. Grant with his links to the Mini’s and juniors will give us an insight into their needs and hopefully also feedback the challenges the Club faces that will enable them to assist. We welcome them both.
So that’s all for now and here is to a successful and enjoyable season to you all wherever you might be playing , coaching or watching. My last plea is that if you want to get involved please do - we need the next generation of helpers so us Old Timers can retire sometime!
Updated 13:11 - 20 Sep 2018 by Greg Heath