And so we finally reach the end of the season and, for many very different reasons, what a season it has been. Due to the pandemic, the challenges faced by us all, both on and off the pitch, have been unprecedented. Let me start by saying how extremely proud I am to be part of this club and to have witnessed first hand how well our members have constantly adapted throughout the season, to every challenge thrown at them and to have made the very best of bad situation.
From the micros through to the seniors, I’d like to commend all coaches and support staff for meeting the challenge head on and continuing to put on sessions for their players and allowing them to continue to enjoy this great sport of ours, in the face of such great adversity.
It has also been a pleasure to see how many age groups continued to engage with their players through the toughest times of the past year, the lockdowns, in which we were unable to connect in person as we would do normally. The initiatives and challenges set by our coaches and support staff were awesome to see and the simple fact that the effort was made will have had untold benefits to both the players physical and mental health through those darkest of times.
I’d also like to thank our committee, who throughout this tough season have continued to hold the club together, both physically and financially, and who continue to strive to do the best they can for the club and for us all. Their hard work over this past year, often unseen by most, and coupled with the continued financial support of our members, means that we are in a strong position coming out of the pandemic and can look forward to brighter times ahead!
Now for a summary of our senior squads season, one that has seen many challenges faced and overcome. It has been a long drawn out affair, starting way back last summer as we came out of the first lockdown. The enthusiasm for rugby, and indeed the social element that goes along with it, could not have been stronger at that time. Our sessions ballooned to new heights with attendances reaching the 50’s on some occasions. Most pleasing of all was seeing the mix of youth and senior players, the mix of abilities, all enjoying the opportunity to play the game in such a welcoming environment.
We were then sent in to another lockdown, however spirits were kept high with our Cranes Community Lockdown Challenge and Boatrace Cup initiatives. The squad held strong on the back of these challenges, with both our players physical and drinking prowess tested, and came through the lockdown and out the other side, still showing good signs of squad cohesion and enjoyment.
What was to follow was our countdown to contact, our first steps on our return to playing the game the way we love to play it. The squad had been so long without contact activity that this presented all new challenges to the coaching team and I’d like to think that we adapted well to those challenges. Contact was made optional, allowing everyone to continue to enjoy taking part in our Wednesday night sessions whilst still allowing us to condition our players for the competitive fixtures organised to round off our season.
Our season culminated in those handful of fixtures, all challenging matches against Effingham & Leatherhead, Chobham, Met Police and lastly Weybridge Vandals. I’m very happy to say that the squad performed exceptionally in all of those matches, in particular against Vandals, a team two tiers above us, giving us an insight into where we are as a squad and the level to which we need to raise our game to one day compete with teams at that level on a weekly basis.
I’d like to thank our senior coaching team for their commitment and support throughout this season and look forward to seeing how far we can take this squad in seasons to come.
So as we close the door on this season and step into summer activities, I’d like to announce that Wednesday nights at the club will continue to put rugby on for all those keen to play and also those keen to watch.
Alongside our fantastic O2 Touch set up, there will also be a senior session running throughout the summer, open to all our senior members as well as our younger age groups, the U15’s, U16’s and colts. I also believe some of our even younger age groups may be organising some summer activities to coincide with this as well.
Hopefully we can make our summer Wednesday nights at Wildwood Lane a real club night for all to enjoy, one where we can all connect as a community and come together to enjoy the sport we all love. I’ll see you there!
To find out more news from Cranleigh R.F.C visit their website: https://cranleighrugbyclub.co.uk/