It goes without saying that we’ve just waved goodbye to a bizarre year full of ups and downs, and one which unfortunately featured far less rugby than we would've liked.
And while last night certainly wasn’t the sort of New Year’s Eve we’re all used to either, we hope everyone was able to stay safe and enjoy a good evening nonetheless.
Although 2020 is likely a year most of us will now be in a hurry to forget, there were actually a few particular moments which deserve a second thought, and which everyone at the Old Wimbledonians should be extremely proud of.
With that in mind, we’d like to use this as an opportunity to look back and highlight some of the positives we can take heading into the new year.
1 – Supporting the Local Community Through the Pandemic
Hopefully you’ll recall how the Old Wimbledonians came together back in March and April to support the local community when the pandemic first hit. As well as using our club house as a hub for collecting donations of essential supplies for those in need, our chef Richard Brown and a team of amazing volunteers worked tirelessly to provide 23,000 warm meals for the NHS alongside the Dons Local Action Group.
Thanks again to everyone who made this possible; not just the volunteers, but everyone who donated to the cause as well. It was an incredible club-wide effort which will live long in the memory.
2 – Cycling to Raise Money for CALM
In July, some of our First XV squad got together and raised an outstanding £2,400 for the mental health charity CALM by cycling 135km in a single afternoon between 18 iconic sports stadiums across London. Huge congratulations to the group of players (and Head Coach Matt Bell rolling back the years) for this impressive effort, which was well organised by Vice Captain Aidan O’Brien and our very own NHS hero, Doctor Richard Hutton.
3 – A Huge Home Win Just Before Lockdown
Although we were unable to play much competitive rugby in 2020, we did record an emphatic 33-3 victory over our local rivals Old Blues (who were several places above us in the league table at the time) at Coombe Lane all the way back in February. Well done to everyone who was involved with the First XV on that day for putting in a great performance for the packed home crowd.
4 – A Touch Tournament to Remember
A much more recent event we can all look back on fondly was the fantastic internal touch rugby tournament we held at the club just a couple of months ago. All the games were played in great spirits, showcased some exciting rugby, and brought together a mix of past, present, and future OWRFC First XV players. Having a full day of rugby on a Saturday again, for the first time since lockdown began, gave us a much-needed reminder of what normality feels like, albeit briefly.
5 – Some Well-Deserved Recognition
Circling back to our first point, we were very grateful to receive several gestures of thanks and recognition throughout the year, for our efforts in supporting the community, from a number of notable names including England Rugby Head Coach Eddie Jones and local MP Stephen Hammond. As mentioned earlier, everyone involved with the Old Wimbledonians should be proud of the way the club responded to the challenges of the pandemic this year. It has served as an inspiring demonstration of the club’s true character and values.
If 2020 taught us anything, it was that even during particularly dark times it’s important to continue supporting each other and anyone else in need. We’re all fortunate to be part of such a special club and community, and that's just as apparent even when there’s no rugby to be played.
It also suggests that there's plenty to be optimistic about in 2021 once this situation improves, and hopefully we’ll be able to make up for lost time. We'll be looking forward to welcoming everyone back to the club as soon as we’re able to open our gates again.
Happy New Year!
We Greatly Appreciate Your Support!
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