... The season did not disappoint and in reflection far surpassed my expectations on where Cheshunt as a club would be.
Me, I have been at Cheshunt Rugby club since the age of around 13 (1993) when I started playing rugby for Cheshunt’s junior side whilst attending the local secondary school at Goffs. I have continued as a player having played for all 4 senior teams in the past to more lately playing for the 3rd or 2nd XV but essentially anyone who will have me. I will admit to being addicted to the game which accounts for how long this donkey has been refusing to enter that field, it will happen one day but for now despite the history or injuries I will not look back and regret having left the sport whilst I was still physically able (just).
I have been the club captain for a number of years now and often speak to various individuals throughout the different sections all things rugby and our club, Often with a beer in my hand. If ever you wanted to reach out to me to discuss something within the club you can reach me on firstname.lastname@example.org . I am also the mini’s fix sec and sit on the extended committee.
Firstly I would like to thank all of the volunteers at the club this season. We have an abundance of volunteers coaching, administrating, donating and most importantly sacrificing their valuable time to make this club what it is. I would also like to thank the committee who also volunteer and spend a lot of their own time working on maintaining and improving the club we love so much. They have had lots of important and difficult events occur over this last season and have handled them really well. It is great to see representation from every section of the club a part of that committee with a new addition to be announced soon for the coming season to further strengthen that representation.
What makes our club so great in comparison to other Herts clubs? Well to be honest there are lots of great family orientated rugby clubs in Herts, that’s the truth and honestly I put that down to the sport, the sports history and the way in which the ethos of Rugby remains the same now as it always has. Train hard and play hard for your team, bring the family, respect the opposition the referees and most importantly have fun. Now this is true of all the clubs in Herts at various degree’s. So for me what makes our club in particular so great. I think it’s the combination of our mini’s setup, our junior success, our senior status, our state of the art facilities and one of the best value for money memberships in the county with our entry level membership price and sibling discounts I do not believe many clubs can match us.
We also have a great integration from Junior to Senior with coaches and players moving between the two sections and we have a large past members and players community dating back to when the club was founded more than 60 years ago who have been coming out in numbers supporting our current 1stXV. We also have a Girls and Women’s section (growing and succeeding to further extend the richness of our sections)
This you do not find at every club, we have so many area’s of excellence and I am pleased to see that despite other clubs struggling post pandemic we have been able to strive.
I’ll start with my observations of the sections this season from the bottom up.
Firstly the Mini’s , I am currently still the Mini’s fixture secretary and so have been throughout the season in constant communication with the mini’s coaches. We are always fondly regarded and respected by our opposition clubs which makes it very easy for me to schedule in the fixtures. There is a large portion of the mini’s who are currently being coached by current or ex Cheshunt Rugby Players who have children in those age groups, this is great for the continuity of the circle of players but not essential as we see non players also doing a fantastic job as coaches in other mini’s ages (U7’s and U12’s)
Juniors , I was very pleased to see the juniors doing so well this season. In particular the U16’s winning the Herts Shield final. Simon Mathews (Head Coach) of the U16s I recall when his team were minis and I took them for a single coaching session. Simon was keen to get some experienced ex player assistance with his age group to help develop his players, what I found was a very well run age group with lots of potential, I did say to those players back then when they must have been 9/10 years old that I wanted to take a look at them because one day I will be playing in a game with them. Well at U16s they probably aren’t far away from playing senior rugby although at my age I am not sure I could hold on. Still Simon has stuck with that age group along with David Everard all those years and called in for additional assistance with experienced Gary Ford and Adam Chantler more recently and look at them now Herts Shield Winners.
I have also had the pleasure of playing alongside some of the u17’s and u18’s who experienced some or their first Senior side rugby playing for the 3rd XV. Some great talent to further come through the ranks and potential 1st XV players one day I am sure.
Seniors , what a year for the Senior sides of the club. Firstly the 3rdXV despite the confusing league 5th place positioning the 3rdXV only lost 2 games on the pitch all season with an additional 2 games lost due to confused cancellations, less losses than the 2 teams above them who lost 8 ?? I don’t know how that maths work but Still the 3rdXV were very strong with a perfect blend of experience and youth. 2ndXV enjoyed a 3rd place finish in a league that had some concerned with how difficult that level would be for them. The 2ndXV answered that concern very positively. I had the pleasure of playing a couple of games with this team and could see some true 1stXV competition for places emerging which is a great sign of depth that we have. 1stXV finished 4th in London League 3 missing out of top 3 by just a single point. They also managed to gain entry to the Herts Cup final in which I was able to witness, despite the defeat it was really good to see so many in attendance from all sections of the club coming together. Vets also enjoyed their annual Memorial game vs Herts fire brigade and Enfield Vets which we won. The Women’s section completed their first full season in an official league finishing 2nd with only 3 losses. They really impressed me and have something very special going on with their setup of coaches and players and I see strong progression from that section.
I have seen lots of clubs throughout Herts struggle this season, dropping out of leagues, folding the 2nd and 3rd XV and generally failing to generate enough players coming out of the pandemic. We have not seen that at all at Cheshunt and we have been lucky enough to find ourselves in a very strong position with player retention.
Stags club , Past players and members from recent retirements to founding members continued to grace us with their presence this season in large numbers thanks to the hard organizational work from our Presidents Frazer and Wibs who also put on special lunches for those in attendance. These past players connect our history and for me make us stand out as a truly special club.
Passing, unfortunately our club was hit with the news of the passing of some of our current and past players.
News of Andre’s death hit so many of us at the club. Having known Andre I was truly saddened of this news, he was one of the older generation who really did make me feel welcome around his generation of players. His funeral in Hertford was attended by truly spectacular numbers with many from the club wearing the club blazers and going back to the club after the service to remember our beautiful little French man.
Something that hit me really hard this year was the news of young Christopher’s death from the U15’s. Its so hard to imagine such a young life no longer with us and so obviously loved by his team mates. There Is a link to a charity setup by Christopher’s family. GoFundMe
These deaths highlight to me the importance of mental wellbeing, not to relate either death themselves with mental wellbeing but to highlight the importance of how the news of these deaths can affect the mental wellbeing of all those around them.
The club website has a section dedicated to sign posting helpful organizations for those who would like to have help with their own mental health. We also have some wellbeing officers please see PAVS
2022/ 23 coming season , I am really looking forward to what the coming season holds. Mini’s becoming Juniors, Juniors becoming seniors and seniors becoming legends. Walk around our club on a Saturday and Sunday and you will see smiling faces, laughter, family and long lasting friendships. What a time to be part of this club.