Tue 06 Oct 2020 08:45

With the prospect of no senior rugby until ‘January at the earliest’, I thought it would be a timely opportunity to keep you updated on what we are continuing to do as a rugby club to keep everyone engaged and motivated.

Despite the recent announcements, I must applaud the 3 senior teams and players for their continued efforts to remain positive in these challenging times. We are all frustrated as we believe our 1st XV Squad is now very capable of competing at the top end of National 1. There is now an excellent balance of youth and experience and we are working hard to develop a level of cohesion and resilience which will be critical when we return.

During this period, we are acutely aware of our players across the club mental health and mental wellbeing and as a result, we are pleased that one of the 1st XV players, Lawrence Rayner and a member of the management team, are in the process of completing a Mental Health First Aid Qualification, which he will use to support the senior squad and wider club.

Rather than feeling sorry for ourselves, we see this time as an opportunity to improve, but more importantly to re-connect with the whole club. One of our strategies moving forwards is to change our training day from a Thursday to a Sunday morning. The players feel that this will allow them to build better relationships with the M&Y players, coaches and parents; something that I hope will benefit us as a club in the future.

One of my early promises when I came into the role was to support all sections of the club. We are continuing to invest more of our time and resources in enhancing the coach development and player development throughout the club. Special thanks must go to our new M&Y Chairman, Nick Dance and our RDO, Ben Penfold. Both are working tirelessly to improve our current provision and grow the M&Y brand. This growth is underlined by the introduction of rugby sessions for 2-6year olds. We welcome company ‘Little Scrummers’ who will be providing some taster sessions on Sunday mornings. www.crufc.co.uk

We are currently in the process of recruiting a new head coach to support the excellent work that Toby, Cate, Sarah and team do with the Rubies section. Numbers continue to grow and the aim is to introduce a Woman’s team in the near future.

We are continuing to provide a COVID compliant environment and on Sunday 11th October, we will be hosting our inaugural Ready for Rugby Festival, where we will be hosting a number of age groups from Shelford RFC. In essence, this format of the game is a version of touch rugby and will give the age groups a wonderful opportunity to play some FUN games against different opposition. If successful, we will look to do similar events with the senior end of the club.

Our visibility in the community continues to grow as we are supporting a number of local schools with their rugby delivery. In addition to this, our foundation will be commencing its delivery with a Walking Rugby project along with Mixed Ability Rugby sessions (Details to be advertised soon)

Our Vipers Academy are now in their second year and we welcome 13 new students to Year 1 of the course. These players are central to our playing pathway at the club and their level of growth, both academically and sporting wise, has been exemplary. We are very fortunate that this program is being supported by ‘Take Your Place’ educational team who are providing our 2nd year students with career guidance and pastoral support.

We also continue to explore new and existing partners that are able to support our ever- expanding careers pathway model. Essentially, we now have a process in place which allows us to support and mentor a number of our players on their development pathways away from rugby. Ultimately, we want a robust pathway at the club, where the majority of our senior squad have transitioned through the age groups. We also recognise the appeal of Cambridge as a city in attracting the right people to the area.

Finally, I would like to thank all club members and supporters for their continued support during the past few months. I am confident that this ‘pause’ will allow us to grow even more as a club and further strengthen our position as the leading club in the region. We will be approaching our centenary year in 2023 and would welcome any suggestions or ideas on how we can celebrate.

I look forward to seeing you at the club over the next few weeks.

Richie Williams

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