- Written by Stu Campbell
And just like that, it is the end of the rugby season. In parts, it has gone like a flash, and in others it has felt like a lifetime. For those involved in the 1st XV, that last few weeks have gone at a snail’s pace. But it is with great pride that I can announce we have achieved promotion to Surrey 2, finishing second in the league to a defiant Met Police. 18 games, 14 wins and 4 losses scored. Not only have the boys worked their socks off all season on the pitch, but they have played each week in scintillating fashion –aptly demonstrated by scoring 714 points across their league games. That is just shy of 40 points per game and the most in the league by some distance.
Jack Bricknell, for the second season in a row, is the 1st team top try scorer with 21 tries. I actually wore Jack’s boots the other day, and safe to say there is nothing special about them – the guy is just naturally a try machine. I don’t think I am alone when I say I love watching Jack play and on the odd occasion I get to play with him, it is a huge pleasure. Our resident international Henry Peuble was top points scorer with 171, proving effortlessly reliable from the boot and also scored a lot of tries. Again, if you can keep up with him, it is a pleasure to play on the same side as him.
Off the pitch, it goes without saying that we owe a huge thanks to Stacia and Tim for working tirelessly throughout the season. They have navigated the 1st brilliantly through thick and thin this season, sticking to their guns and playing our own brand of rugby. A well-deserved break over the summer and hopefully a few nice holidays for you two! On the pitch we the boys have had a fierce and determined leader in James Kearney, who has lead from the front in all aspects of his rugby this season. I think it goes a little bit under the radar how much he does for the club and both teams behind the scenes. There will be few men happier and more satisfied with the promotion than him, and rightly so. Hats off to you Mr Kearney and I know you’ll lead the boys high into Surrey 2.
The mighty 2s finished with 7 wins and 11 losses. We had a shaky start to the season but with the addition of a well-established core, we played some fantastic rugby towards the end of the season and 3 of our wins came in the last 5 games. My personal highlight was beating Law Society on our last game of the season, a team who had beat us 79-0 on the opening day. It is safe to say we finished an infinitely stronger team than we started. And for once, the results have backed this up.
As is the nature of the beast, 2s rugby is inconsistent with numbers, style, opposition and level of refereeing. You never know what you are going to get, but the last few months have shown just how good we can be in the face of it all and if we play our style we can beat anyone. Another rather selfish highlight has to be seeing Thom Bricknell back playing regularly in a ruts shirt, a boy I grew up playing with and what a player he is. We have many leaders in our team and Thom certainly leads from the front both on and off the pitch.
A quick public display of thanks to our Clubman of the Year, Paul Cecil. He only spends pretty much all of his free time organising the colts, but he spends his Saturday afternoon helping to coach and lead the 2s – without him my job would have been much more difficult this season. More to follow on Paul.
1st Team Player of the Year – Ben Robertson
- Ben has been an insturmental part of a league dominating scrum, and is our very own 'new age prop' who plays like a centre.
1st Team Captains Player of the Year – Taylor
- Taylor, from the start, has always been hungry to learn and criticise himself. He has enormously high expectations and he has come on leaps and bounds this season, making sure he is one of the first names on the teamsheet.
Most Improved – Pierre Wedja
- The wrekcing ball. Pierre has improved tenfold this season, adding many different strings to his bow. He started off as a fairly one dimnesional player, but his hands and rugby brain have come on massively. We nearly lost him and we are so greatful that he stuck with it.
Young Player of the Year – Noah Ferdinand
- Noah has been a consistent mainstay in the team this season, despite being away at university. You can rely on Noah on any position on the pitch, and he will always get the team out of trouble. His metres gained will certainly be up there with the best in the league.
2nd Team Player of the Year – Callum Baines
- Cally has been instrumental for me this season. He leads from the front both on and off the pitch. Easily one of the best players in the club.
2nd Team Captains Player of the Year – Gary Forge
- Need i say any more?
Clubman of the Year – Paul Cecil
When Paul isn’t swanning around Italy on rugby tours, and when he isn’t in the office, I can’t see how he does much else other than organise the Ruts. This is no exaggeration; Paul is the glue that holds us all together. The way he accepted his award on Saturday night tells you everything you need to know about the integrity and sincerity of the man, he was genuinely shocked and looked like he didn’t want to be up there. He also quickly diverted attention to his wingman Harry, to whom he gives most of the credit – I think Harry would give it straight back to him.
Perhaps Paul’s most tangible achievement is the development of his Colts, many of whom now are well embedded into the seniors, despite being 17/18. Not only are they brilliant rugby players, but Paul’s humility and determination are firmly part of their mind-sets both on and off the pitch. Look no further than Reece, Robert, Ewan etc, cracking players and even better blokes. Their integration into the seniors has been seamless and for that we owe him.
But what no one sees is the effort Paul puts into other areas of the club, organising pitches, events, player liaison, all on top of being Junior Chairman and 2s Coach. He works tirelessly and maybe there has never been a more worthy winner of the award.
Anyway ladies and gentlemen, it’s been a pleasure to be a part of all it all and look forward to many more of my ramblings next season. You may even get a mid-summer update depending on much I miss rugby.
- Written by George Vaughan-Barratt
The first of many thanks goes to Adam Perrin for leading the charge in organising a hugely successful day. I think many underappreciate how difficult it is to organise such a day with enormously tight timings, huge numbers and all sorts of contributing factors. So many thanks, Reggie.
On behalf of the senior set up, I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to the Vets for lacing up their boots and coming down to put on a wonderful showcase. We are most grateful for your attendance and as a huge part of our club we welcome you back at any time. It was great to see people travelling from all different parts of the country to represent the OC's. I hear Marc Jones travelled from a place called Nantwich in Cheshire - which i looked up, and the first thing that comes up is 'What to do in Nantwich,' believe you me there isn't a lot. Whilst others, Darren Ramen, Gary Forge and Sam Keohane to name a few, we can't seem to get rid of. And by the looks of the young Ramen's and young Keohane, we probably won't get rid of them for a long while. I can guarantee the future of Ruts is bright.
The match was played in a the truest of rugby spirits, with the Vets putting a try on the 2s early, showing great strength around the breakdown with some bruising runs. I wasn’t particularly interested in tackling Sam Keohane, to be honest. We fought back well and put two on them before half time, Jenks finishing off a fine move in the corner. Braddock was instrumental in this try and generally upon his return. Darren Ramen then put the vets over shortly into the second half with a well worked try in the corner, reaching over in fine fashion - a flash back to the glory days. In my opinion there is still some decent playing years left in him, maybe Sam would disagree. The mighty 2s soaked up a significant amount of pressure and went over to reach the final score of 21-12. The game was close and well fought, a significant improvement on last year.
The fantastically spirited game didn't stop at the final whistle, with the customary team photo (to follow) and a rousing 3 cheers for Ken, whose sad passing was the dawning of this fine day. And as usual, probably the highlight of the day is Kens Mum and Dad's Chinese meal, which is customary on the Rugby Day. They do a tremendous job out of the kindness of their hearts, so we are hugely grateful to them.
The 1s followed up with a emphatic victory over close rivals Old Cats, giving us some breathing space at 2nd in the league. We made a very good team look quite ordinary - so well done to those guys. We are marching on towards promotion, we play Met next week who are unbeaten so all hands on deck. Please get down to Imber Court and support the boys on Saturday if you can.
- Written by George Vaughan-Barratt