Firstly, welcome back to what is set to be another busy year for Cuffley Rugby Club.
2017/18 kicks off in a few weeks but before I get into what’s ahead for us as a club I just want to reflect on last season.
Our first team stepped up back into the RFU league structure, they started and finished well with a dip in form mid-season, this was not unexpected but not helped through more than a few injuries, as I said we regrouped in the new year and finished strongly. This will give us a good grounding and confidence to start the new season.
Our first league game of this campaign is Saturday 9th September at Home, 3pm Cuffley v Harlequin Amateurs.
This season the firsts are led by Matt Jones, who continues the family tradition of captaining Cuffley by following his very proud father and an old team-mate of mine Ieuan Jones. I wish Matt well and I know he will put his heart and soul into the task ahead, Matt takes over from Ross Lovett who has steered the club through some turbulent times and has been at the heart of the club’s success over the past years. Ross is not retiring but is taking on an important role within the club of which I will explain more later.
Cuffley Sables, our 2nd string almost mirrored the firsts last season with a great start and finish but as you can guess a dip mid-season, again they suffered from injuries but more the knock-on effect of the firsts taking key players for quite a chunk of time. These guys all did well and even if they don’t make regular games this season for the first team, they will take all that experience they gained to make the Sables even stronger. Chris Wilson will again be captain this season.
This was Graham Payne’s first full season as our head coach and he can be proud of all his work, I know we will see the benefit of his coaching this season through both teams.
We could not have had a better start in the WRFU leagues last season, our girls did the club proud, in their very first year of competitive rugby they won the league title.
With a dedicated coaching team and a determination to win they finished top with 2 games to go, losing only twice, they finished the season by entering their first ever 7’s tournament and just lost in the final to the host club. We look forward to competing in NC 1 this season.
The ladies league season starts on Sunday 10th September at Home 2:30pm Cuffley Ladies v Old Elthamians Ladies. Courtney Arberry and Sophie Newman will again jointly captain our ladies this season.
I obviously wish all our teams good luck for the forthcoming season.
2017 – 2018 season will be another milestone year for Cuffley as by the season end we will have been running as a rugby club for 45 years! This is quite an accomplishment for a village team surrounded by some of the county’s biggest clubs, we have always and continue to punch above our weight.
We start this season running two men’s and one ladies’ senior rugby teams, based at Botany Bay and we are confident we can grow even more as the years progress.
We have a 5-year plan to increase our player base both men and women and by doing so add to our 3 teams, at this time we are submitting planning applications to the local authority to develop a new floodlit training area at the club. We also have plans to put in another pitch to make sure we have the best playing surfaces available in order to share the load/wear and tear on our existing pitch.
These improvements will give us the opportunity to eventually start a junior section at the club thus give Cuffley the important depth of young players progressing through the club.
We pride ourselves on being a friendly, family, community club and we hope to link up with local secondary schools to invite them along to the club to play games and to use our facilities.
The main Botany Bay Club is fully supportive of all our future long-term plans, they have planning permission to extend the changing rooms at the club, this we hope will get under-way very soon.
Last Season we created our Cuffley RFC former players association, inviting players and supporters of the past to enjoy a pre-match lunch, watch a game and generally talk about games won and lost plus have the odd beer or two, this was a great success and I will be organising at least two dates for the forthcoming season.
As I mentioned earlier Ross Lovett has stepped down as first team Captain and has now taken on the unenviable roll of Hon Club Sec, attempting to fill the enormous boots of Chris (Badger) Palmer, Badger has been part of the old boy’s backbone of Cuffley alongside myself and our President Tony Eist. We have been through years of hard times together trying to keep our club going, I’m happy to say we are in good shape now and Badgers tenacity and belligerence has been a mainstay in getting us where we are today. He is not retiring completely, he will still be on our committee and I am sure he will work as hard as ever for the club, raising money and sponsorship and he is the mysterious man who lurks about sticking our boards up anywhere he possibly can.
As I said we are a family club and our members have had a busy summer particularly in the romantic sense, Joe Cant was first up to get Married, followed by Ollie Newland who married into some strange rugby cult.
Engagements galore, with Ash Lawson and on the Ladies side, Nicola Green and Sinead Gibson both saying yes to their respective partners. Congratulations to you all, added to that today Emmanuel (Bubba) Sonubi has become a father again, well done mate.
Lastly but by no means the least, I would like to say a big thank you to all our sponsors listed below for your ongoing support and helping us to develop our club.
- Sporting Index
- MC Ginley Logistics
- Chocolates Direct
- Madisons Recruitment
And finally, I wish everyone involved in Cuffley Rugby Football Club good luck for the season ahead and hope to see you all at some point throughout the season for a beer.
Cuffley RUFC Chairman