Guest post by Director of Rugby, Gabriel Enright 

 

After joining Old Wimbledonians RFC as Director of Rugby last August, we started with a flurry of activity to get a competitive First XV squad up and running for the 2019/20 rugby season. 

Over the past few years the senior section of the club has struggled on several fronts, culminating in relegation from Surrey 1 to Surrey 2 last April. But on meeting the team and the committee, it was apparent that the spirit and the will were there to succeed. As they were a great bunch of young men, I knew it wouldn’t take much to turn the fortunes around.

It was no surprise that with a revamped game plan and training format the playing group responded well. We were able to play with good structure for the majority of the season, with several tight games just evading us in the key moments. While winning seven and losing nine games for a mid-table finish was disappointing, the team made huge improvements throughout the year and have built a great foundation for the future.

Another aspect of the Old Wimbledonians RFC which surprised me is the quality and commitment of the volunteers, as well as the OWA staff working in the club house. Their support and contributions were pivotal to the modicum of success we enjoyed as a club this year, but will also be the bedrock of much more success in the coming seasons.

  • Richard Travers – A dedicated club Chairman and a decent scrum-half
  • David Doran, President – 'The Diplomat' and a great facilitator with the community
  • Matt Bell – A quality Head Coach and staunch Old Wimbledonian
  • James Howell – Captain Fantastic and an excellent scrum-half
  • Aidan O'Brien – Vice-Captain Fantastic, and a superb lock and number eight
  • Robbie Westacott – PR/media machine, Club Secretary, and a handy outside back 
  • Rory Southgate – Club Captain and midfield general
  • Jason Murphy – Social Sec, Tour Director, and hopefully back from injury soon
  • Mike and Tom Curtis – Match day specialists and expert rafflers
  • Brian Mullen – OWA Manager of House and Grounds and a fine rugby player in his day

Also playing a role were our valued partners and sponsors, who we thank dearly: Your Golf Travel, Lime and Thyme Restaurant, Icon Solutions, Bounce Gym, MJB Construction, and AOTC Digital. If anyone is interested in discussing sponsorship for the coming season, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly on the details below and I’ll provide a range of different opportunities. 

While it’s too soon to announce plans for next season, due to the uncertainty of the times, be assured that weekly touch rugby sessions will commence on Tuesday evenings as soon as permitted. As with last season, hopefully we’ll have Lime and Thyme pizza and post-session beers for the players arranged by then too. 

I would also like to throw out the challenge and invite any talented rugby players, or athletes looking to try rugby union, to contact me directly on the details below. I’ll explain what’s in store for 2020/21 and help you put together a plan for strength and conditioning in the off-season to get ready.

To the members of the Old Wimbledonians Association, we are running our Player Referral Scheme again next season, which will see cold hard cash deposited on your OWA cards for every player that joins our squad. Best thing is to encourage them to come down to our touch rugby sessions when they commence.

Lastly, as you’re probably aware by our social media posts, the Old Wimbledonians RFC is in the thick of the battle with coronavirus, preparing meals for NHS doctors and nurses at local hospitals. Our Head Coach Matt Bell has been chopping vegetables five days a week and our First XV centre, Dr. Richard Hutton, is working in a crucial capacity to help the afflicted. My thoughts and prayers are with all involved, and I’m proud to be associated with a rugby club that is going above and beyond to serve its community. Well done team, you humble us all.

See you all when the footy is back on!

 

Gabriel Enright

Director of Rugby, Old Wimbledonians RFC

07563407814 (WhatsApp only)

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