The Way Ahead

The great work over a number of years sees the clubhouse development edging closer to completion. I am reliably informed that we are well on target for the official opening on Saturday 10 September when we meet Chinnor RFC in our opening home fixture of the 2016/2017 National Two South campaign.

The clubhouse provides the backdrop to the great enthusiasm shown by members of the Hawks, Bulls, Vikings and Women who have already started pre-season training.

We have retained a high percentage of our squad from last season and have made a number of new additions as you will see from Nigel’s update. The opening match of the season will be down in Cornwall at Redruth on Saturday 3 September, so why not take a short holiday down in the West Country and get behind the Hawks.

We are currently awaiting the fixtures for the Henley Bulls. These will be available once Premiership and Championship fixtures are confirmed.

The Vikings have a new Head Coach in Chris Parrott who will be supported by Murray Hughes, Matt Mann and Sam Quelch. The Vikings will commence there 2016/2017 season at Windsor RFC on Saturday 10 September in Berks, Bucks & Oxon League Division Two.

Ali Mortimore after eighteen years’ service with the Club will take up a coaching role with Harlequins RFC within the Women’s section. Therefore, I welcome  RFU qualified coaches in Mark Peris and Chris Skaife to coaching roles, Karen Peris, Team Manager and Aisling Byrne as Physiotherapist. The Women’s XV will continue in the RFU Championship South for 2016/2017 season.

Further details will be released on Bears, Vultures and Colts shortly.

The Club is currently working with the RFU, Oxfordshire RFU and Henley College to help recruit and retain players throughout the age range 16 – 24. A key area to grow our talent for the future and ensure individuals continue to play rugby. 

Henley College will continue to use Dry Leas for both training sessions and matches within the ASSE Leagues, well worth watching on a Wednesday afternoon or evening. The Club is very grateful for the support and assistance of the College and to the support from Jack Wiggins the Rugby Academy Manager.

The Club has received confirmation from the RFU that our RFU Accredited Club status has been retained. However, we have further work to undertake as part of our three and five year plans agreed with the RFU. This relates to updating the RFU Game management System (GMS) and DBS records to ensure integrity with our safeguarding arrangements alongside plans to grow Women’s Rugby and retention of players within the game.

Work continues with both the RFU and Oxfordshire RFU to ensure we secure an appropriate grant and loan towards the continued development at Dry Leas with the addition of the following:

·       Two changing rooms

·       Medical room

·       Match officials changing room

·       Kit store

·       Club Shop

It is planned to commence work on the next phase in April 2017. If you are able to assist with support to this project then I will be really pleased to hear from you as I wish to ensure we continuethe momentum we have in improving all the facilities at Dry Leas.

I would appreciate you support with the RFU Core Values which Henley RFC fully supports as follows:

Everyone involved in rugby in England, whether as a player, coach, referee, administrator, parent or spectator is expected to uphold the Core Values of our sport.

Teamwork – Respect – Enjoyment – Discipline - Sportsmanship

·       Play to win – but not at all costs

·       Win with dignity – lose with grace

·       Observe the Laws and regulations of the game

·       Respect opponents, referees and all participants

·       Reject cheating, racism, violence and drugs

·       Value volunteers and paid officials alike

Enjoy the game

Looking forward to an enjoyable season.

Aubrey Doran

Director of Rugby Administration