“We have a pretty young playing squad at present and many of our players have come through our Mini and Junior system which is very pleasing for all involved. ”
Tom Salsbury, Club President
Welcome one and all to the 2017/18 season, one which sees Olney RFC celebrate our 140th anniversary.
As this is my first year as President I must thank and congratulate Mannie on his 16 years in the chair, it was truly a proud and humbling moment when I was elected to take his place.
The club is on an upward curve at present and a big reason for this is the hard work done by the main committee, with Paul James at the helm, and the social committee to make sure the club stays on a firm footing and an even keel. The support of all our sponsors - be it player, kit, match, programme, fixture card or pitchside advertising - is greatly appreciated and goes a long way to helping the club be what it is today.
On the playing front we will be looking to build on the improvements made last season. There is a fantastic atmosphere among the teams at moment, much of which can be put down to the hard work put in by Phil Powell, Edd Rhodes and their coaching team as well as the positive attitude of the players. We have a pretty young playing squad at present and many of our players have come through our Mini and Junior system which is very pleasing for all involved. Congratulations to Mark Lay who has coached the Colts successfully for the past couple of years and worked well with the senior coaches to feed the boys through to the next level. Alec Tebby also deserves a mention having just stood down as Colts manager after 25 years of unstinting service. Sinead works hard to keep the lads fit and get them back on the pitch as soon as possible when they are injured.
The ladies team continues to perform well, thanks to all involved for their efforts. The ladies have to do a fair bit of travelling for their fixtures so their commitment must be commended.
Our Mini and Junior section seems to get bigger, stronger and more successful year on year. Huge thanks must go to all coaches, helpers, parents and committee members for all their efforts in making this section such a success. The saying goes that the M&Js are the future of the club, this is proved right when you see that around two-thirds of the players in the senior teams have come through the system.
We can also boast players such as Duncan Taylor - Saracens and Scotland, Fraser Strachan at Saints Academy, Tom Hardwick at Tigers Academy and Cam Keenan at Cambridge in National League 1 as M&J products plus numerous boys in the Saints EPDG and age groups.
The baths don't run themselves, the aftermatch food doesn't make itself, the clubhouse and patio certainly don't clean themselves, the bar doesn't just stock itself - so to everyone involved in making sure these things happen, much gratitude to you all.
The ladies who form the Saturday evening bar team do a sterling job, without them the players would not be able to replace lost body fluids and us supporters would not be able to lubricate our vocal chords! Speaking of which, we are so lucky to have such large and vocal support, both home and away. The players appreciate your support so much and speaking from personal experience it makes a massive difference to have so many people on the touchline cheering you on.
It would be remiss of me not to give a huge thank you to Tom Winter and his team for organising and running the 7s. Our tournament gets better and better each year and is regarded as one of the best on the circuit and this is all due to the hard work and commitment Tom puts in over the year. Special mention also to Smudge, Arthur, Mike, Charlie and Chris for their work as well. I think Tom is looking to take a step back in the near future so if anyone feels brave enough, or knows anyone who is, to step into his shoes, please offer your services.
Unfortunately we have had to say final farewells to club stalwarts and legends Ian Cox, Edgar Dix, Dave Hyland and Joe Dorrill who all passed away in the last 12 months. They all did so much for the club in many different ways and helped create some of the history that has been built over our 140 year existence. Those of us who were lucky enough to know them will remember them fondly and ensure their legend lives on.
To all our visitors, I hope your visit to East Street and Olney is an enjoyable one, we will strive to ensure a warm welcome for you in in the clubhouse but i cant guarantee the same on the pitch!!
So there is much celebrating to be done this season and i look forward to sharing a beer and a yarn with as many friends, old and new, as possible both before and after watching some decent rugby.
Enjoy the season and best wishes to you all.
Updated 11:38 - 21 Sep 2017 by Kath Middleditch