Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
Its been, well, different. We’ve not played a competitive match since March 2020 and rugby union is still unable to resume the game as we knew it, with scrums and mauls still banned. We hope that the intended end of restrictions in July will remove the remaining restrictions on playing the game.
its recently been possible to play an adaptive game instead, but in consultation with our players we have decided not to do so and keep providing training sessions instead. We are building towards what we hope will be a ‘normal’ preseason with competitive matches, hopefully with scrums and mauls, resuming in September as normal.
Numbers at training sessions have been really positive, with approximately 45 different male, 20 female and 50 sharks attending sessions over the last few weeks. Recruitment of particularly male players through ‘HQ’ over the last few months from work has been extremely positive and they’ve settled in really well. However, sadly few seem to have heard about CACSSA, CSSC or the affiliated clubs prior to spotting forum posts we’ve created.
Our proposed fixtures for adult matches have now been issued. The men’s teams have lots of local derbies (Tigers and Old Pats for example) and both the 1sts and 2nds have very competitive leagues. Training numbers at the moment indicate that we could have two very competitive teams and will hopefully challenge for both leagues. We also hope to resume regular vets matches and as ever, hope for at least an occasional 3rdXV if we can, potentially in conjunction with other local clubs to ensure as many players can play as regularly as possible.
Whilst the men’s teams have largely local matches, the Ladies again have far more travelling to do, with games in Banbury and Chinnor (but not in Dursley or Thornbury!), which are all just to close to qualify for RFU funding. The Ladies team are progressing well under their new coaching set up, although some additional players will provide some depth to the squad.
For the Sharks, its been great to see more former players starting to bring their children to the club and numbers steadily grow. Lee and the coaching team continued to provide excellent coaching, focussed on the kids and we look forward to the U14s playing ‘full’ matches for the first time next season.
During our extended break we’ve also tried to do some off the field work, so have reviewed committee roles terms of reference, club vision and goals and refreshed our sponsorship packages (please ask for details!). We have started to modernise how we handle club memberships, using the RFU GMS system. Finally, we also have a new version of our website in development.
Finally, with all the challenges faced at the club over the last year, the grounds look in fantastic shape and we look forward to the playing again, and having a beer (or two..) afterwards. It was great to get back into the club for a players meeting the other evening and we hope that regular evening opening will resume in the coming weeks and months. Thanks to the CACSSA team for all their work.
I’d also like to give a special mention to Phil Lewis, who’s leaving CACSSA after many years of Service. Phil will be much missed and was always supportive of us. I’d like to wish him all the best and hopefully many years of golfing.
Cheltenham Civil Service RFC