It’s been a while since I last wrote to you and there is a huge amount going on, so I thought it would be worth sending you all another update on what’s going on down at the Club.
On Saturday 12th September we had a ‘touch rugby’ tournament on our back pitches, with ‘bubble’ teams drawn from the Gazelles, senior men’s squad, 3rd XV, Vets and two from the Colts. It really was a fantastic afternoon and a great chance for a semi-competitive run out for all involved. It was also nice to see some familiar faces on the touchline from a suitable distance – thank you to all of those who came down to give their support. We’re all impacted by COVID-19 but the appetite both for rugby and the social side of our Club seems to have magnified. In the final, one of the Colts sides was narrowly edged by the senior Men’s team, which as the only prize we had was alcoholic may have been a good thing.
Tom Williams took a squad of players up to Cobham on Saturday for a competitive game of touch rugby, with suitable tracking and checks. We’re discussing this option with a number of Clubs – small touch tournaments between four Clubs that rotate location week on week. This is within RFU guidelines and fully supported. As I write we have just been informed that rugby will not start again until January ‘at the earliest’ so there is a lot of interest in this touch rugby option.
We’ve started some very positive conversations with the Gazelles about their medium-term future and I hope to share details on what we’ve been discussing in the coming months. It has been really good to hear their views and talk to some of the younger players about how they see the team developing and moving forward. The Gazelles are a fantastic success story under the watchful eyes of Ali Davis and Ross Brooker. We should be rightfully proud of what they have achieved. I’m pleased to announce that Lucy Taylor has joined our Grizzlies coaching staff. The Harlequins Ladies scrum-half and Surrey University student lives in Woking and we’re very pleased to have her down with us. There is huge effort going in to ensuring the success of our Girls teams. January will be the 3-year anniversary of the Grizzlies starting and we now have squads at Under 11, 13 and 15 age groups.
The minis and youth training restarted in September which again sees us working within the government guidelines on a Sunday and an increasingly busy Wednesday evening at the Club. With Touch Tuesday moving to Wednesday to accommodate the Gazelles now training twice a week, we now have both training pitches, under floodlights, fully utilised for three consecutive nights in the week. Under the circumstances, is very encouraging to see how enthused all the coaches and parents are. When we get through this current situation, our future is bright.
On Tuesday I watched Tom and Simon Coles put the senior men’s squad through their paces. We had 40 down training in bubble groups signified by coloured bibs, with a good mix of familiar faces and new joiners. Our first team manager Topper was buzzing around taking temperatures and Harry Phillips was shanking drop-goal attempts…. I guess not everything is different.
I’d like to thank Topper for marshalling the troops to help redecorate the Changing Rooms which now look very professional. The work he has done will help to build the best possible match-day experience for all players at the Club and support the work we’ve been doing on both our identify and our culture – Castle Guilford ! A lot of players have been involved, thanks to all of you.
I’ve also had a chance to walk to main pitch with Commercial Groundscare to talk about the progress we’ve made recovering 2019’s drought. We’ve decided to take advantage of the delayed start to the season and the grant we secured previously to perform a second round of re-seeding which is a very positive step. A normal season would see 12 sacks of seed put on the pitch, this season we will have done 20.
Perhaps inevitably we’ve had our first player test positive for COVID-19. Our thoughts are with him and his family, who are now self-isolating according to government guidelines. The stringent checks we do at each training session has meant that know when he last trained and who his ‘bubble mates’ are. Everyone impacted has been informed. We will continue to train according to instructions from the RFU. It does go to show that we cannot be complacent at any point – temperature checks, clear policy and adherence to it, registration and good communication are key. I’d like to thanks all the coaches and players for their ongoing diligence.
To finish on a positive note, I’d like to share some updates on what some of our current and former players are up to in their spare time.
Big Red and the ‘Boris Bonus’
Many of you will remember Bill ‘Big Red’ Mairs, who recently retired from senior rugby having played at ‘graced’ our Broadwater home since he was 11 representing the club at all levels. Bill has been working in mortgage advice for nearly 10 years now and has just started working as a self-employed mortgage consultant through Clarity Mortgage Services. As I’m sure you are all aware there is currently a stamp duty holiday on the first £500,000 for any property purchase (as long as you don’t buy in Scotland) with many people are looking to take advantage of this. Now that Bill has left the security of employment he wanted us to reach out to the wider rugby club and offer his services to anybody looking to take advantage of the ‘Boris Bonus’, or for that matter to anyone that has any other queries regarding property finance ! If you have any question for him or want to start exploring your options please do get in touch. You can either email Bill on [email protected] or call him on 07507 703 491. I know he’d be more than happy to help. Do mentioned your Club connection as Bill tells me that he will not be charging any fees for club members.
Joe Wigmore’s Personal Training
Joe originally played rugby down at Guildford as an under-7 and after a 15 year gap returned to us last season to play on the wing for the first team. Joe is a self-employed Personal trainer and Online Fitness coach, specialising in weight loss and muscle gain as well as working around specific sports, such as rugby, football and hockey. Over lockdown, Joe worked with our senior squad and continues to specialise in online coaching and you can see the benefits in some dramatic transformations. Joe is based in Farnham and has a COVID compliant private training studio equipped with all the necessary tools to meet your goals.
Alternatively, through online coaching, Joe is able to guide and coach you to your fitness goals wherever you are in the world, with whatever equipment you have access to. If you’d like to get support from Joe, please send him an email at [email protected], again, mentioned your Rugby Club connection and he’ll give you a discount.
Stay safe everyone and if you have any questions or things are difficult, please do reach out. You can contact me directly on 07887 692912 or [email protected] if you need to.