State of the Tigers
Monday 28th November 2016
With the season well under way, We though it now may be time for a small club update to let you know what is happening: on the field, off the field and behind the scenes.
With the first team squad getting promoted our season on a senior level was always going to be a big step up, with 20 in the first team day squad, thus affecting the numbers in the development squad, this accompanied with no breaks in the fixture list up until Christmas was always going to be tough. The boys in all senior squads have stepped up and our progress so far is very encouraging with the first team winning 5 (Otley pending) out of the first 12 games, giving us a good position showing we can beat anyone on our day. The great home win against Sedgley park, last seasons 2nd placed team and the strong performances against sale and Caldy stick in our minds. Ben Wade has been rallying the development squad to great effect against all odds. The fixture list for the 2nd team was not easy hang the first 6 fixtures away, Ben still kept his squad together with only a growing injury list preventing one game last week on numbers ... with the big man himself answering a call up to the first team squad for an appearance from the bench.
We have had some bad news as all clubs will have during the season, but the lads have stepped up and filled any breaches that have been left making it hard for the boys that are injured to come back in. The long term losses to Mark Ireland, Aidan Leeming (new year), Ben Sullivan (Christmas) and Tom Coates (hopefully back soon), Lewis (all season) along with short term injures to Frank Smith in the back row, Steve Walker also in the back row Lee Orton and Alan Symcox along with many others.
As you can see by the new bar the first stages of the uplift have begun. The bar refurbishment, new ceiling, new trophy cabinet and panted changing rooms with all and the pictures being placed up on the walls around the club in order, courtesy of Andrew Hill's handy work (yes he is useful !!!) has gone down very well. We are looking to next clear the rear office which has not been changed for many years and freshen up the ladies toilets. We are trying to carry the works out with a minimum spend so many people helping out and donating have help tremendously. Roger Cordrey has taken on the business managers roll and ha been looking after the sponsorship getting all in order.
Whilst this has taken some time we are now ready to move to the 2nd phase in attracting new sponsorship to the club, if anyone has any ideas please contact Roger. We are also in the early stages of making the eiger playable with either levelling or turning into 2 x mini pitches, as you may realise this is a larger job and we will be investigating further after we have received the quotes. We intend to market the club house more now it is completed and we are also looking at options to keep the club busy in the summer months, there have been several ideas, classic car show, caravan / motor home parking (not on the pitch, Guy ..... don't panic) and England / GB trials for the Auzzie rules national team amongst others.
Paul Messenger and Simon Cooper have been nothing short of fantastic in nurturing the Colts squad through the years. However we noticed a clear issue, losing colts teams in previous years, so have tried to combat this. To keep the lads at the club, Thiu Barnard took over the coaching with "messy" and Simon moving into managers roles working alongside Thiu. This is to help the colts understand first team calls, train with the first team squad and slowly bring them in as the are ready without pushing too hard.
We want to keep the lads happy and with the RFU stating that mini and junior sections are booming and senior dwindling with 16–19 being the ages clubs lose players, we saw this as the best way to retain these lads as "Tigers".
Under 16s are going great under Andy Roberts with a positive outlook and winning some good battles and contests. As always it comes with challenges with half of the under 16s progressing next year to colts, which will leave us short of 16 numbers next year. We hope to retain the relationship with Tupton school, whilst going on a active recruitment drive in the new year.
The under 12s are another section we have targeted and we now have 8 under 12 players active. We are looking to grow this group introducing them into contact and getting some game time in the new year. The age groups 13, 14 and 15 are next on the list and if we can grow by 2 new age groups per year this will be a steady but sustainable growth fr the club.
The Christmas party is looking like a trip to the bowling, as they are far to cool for the minis now !!!!!
The mini section keeps growing and growing year on year. The under 7s have an influx of 20 - 25 new players which is fantastic and the other age groups keep adding players to the already big numbers from various clubs that are hearing about our individual way of professional coaches from 7 - 70 (still time for a comeback year wrenchy !). They have just been over to the Manchester festival which the kids love and I am led to believe the parents love even more ... but don't panic mums and dads, what goes on tour, stays on tour !!!!!! With the family Christmas events coming up on 2nd December and all the big kids are going to the prince of wales ... and all the children to the club for a big party.
All in all we are moving forward in the right direction, the minis and juniors are growing and it has been a long slog getting it back to a full compliment. With the hard work and vision we should have age groups from under 7s all the through to senior. The senior section will only benefit in numbers from the lads coming through, and the numbers will from as we gain a reputation for being a family club that looks after its members. The first squad are fighting had in national 2 and I realistically believe a mid table finish is on the horizon and we can kick on from there.
Lastly, it just leaves us both to thanks the players, coaches, mums, dads, volunteers, bar workers, kitchen staff, members and the ever dependable Guy and Chris for making the ground playable and the Saturdays functional.
Good luck to all seniors and juniors for the rest of the season and a massive thanks for all your help.