As the season reaches its climax, it’s fair to say it’s been both exciting and challenging in different ways.
Post the pandemic, adult playing numbers have been lower across the country (particularly in the men’s game), with a combination of injury and unavailability making putting teams out more difficult than we are used to. However, thanks to the efforts of the likes of Paul, Ash, Dolly and others, we are still putting regular teams out and getting players games. I’d especially want to recognise the extraordinary work Ash (supported by Arron) has been doing to coordinate across multiple clubs (at least 5 in some weeks) to pull teams and games together.
Whilst we remain concerned about lower adult player numbers and availability and will continue to work to improve this, we can at least reflect that we are not alone in the situation and are in a better place than others. We can also look positively at the continued steady growth in numbers in the Sharks and hope that some of these young rugby players will become the stalwarts of our mens and ladies sides in the future.
The mens 1stXV are in an excellent position in Gloucester 2 North, sitting top on points difference from Tewkesbury with three games to go. Bredon are also in contention in third, only two points in arrears. Over the coming weeks, Service have still to play an inform Stroud (also also play Bredon), Painwick and in the final game of the season, Tewkesbury away from home. The league title is within our hands but hard games are to come in order to achieve our goal. The 2ndXV are mid table in their league.
Our Ladies team have had a tough season with injuries and unavailability. The distances for away games (far greater than the men’s teams) has also not helped. However, they have four games remaining, three of which are at home and positive results in these will make the season look very different.
As noted above, the Sharks continue to progress and grow, with the progress of both the U12s and U14s particularly noteworthy, in both increased playing numbers and their rugby development. Our U14s move into a league structure next season which feels a significant step forward in the establishment of the Sharks in local junior rugby. We are also hopeful of a girls team next season to further boost our offering to our junior players.
Finally in updates on the playing side of the club, I’m delighted to highlight that thanks to the hard work of Cameron Janes, we have a fledgling walking rugby offer underway. Sessions take place at 7pm on Tuesdays for anyone, male or female, of any age or ability. If you would like to give it a go, please let us know!
To close, over the next few weeks we will begin to further develop our plans for next season and beyond. We already have an Action Plan in place for various aspects of the club which will need review and updating. We have already been in contact with our hosts at CACSSA about our needs for next season in terms of pitches, particularly to support the growth of the Sharks. Unfortunately we know that next season that some of our very valued volunteers are standing down, including Paul our men’s head coach and OJ from the Ladies coaching team. I’d like to thank them, and all our volunteers, for their efforts over the season (and before that!) and wish them well in the future. We will begin the process of recruiting to fill these positions shortly, but if you are interested in them, in any other role in the club, or would like to help out in some other way (even if you don’t know in what capacity), please get in touch and we can have a chat.
Best of luck to all our players for the remainder of the season, and thank you for your interest and involvement in our club.
Cheltenham Civil Service RFC