It’s been a couple of years since I left the RFU and Eastern Counties committees and I promised myself at least two seasons away from any kind of rugby administrative role. My reasons for leaving centred around keeping an eye on my mother in London, as trying to juggle her needs, my work and my rugby commitments was proving too much and something had to give.
But there was more to it than that; I felt that I was no longer making a difference in the game, particularly at the RFU. I remember in the winter of 2008 when I was addressing clubs in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk in my campaign to be elected the RFU representative for Eastern Counties, I said that I had made a difference at my club, at my county and at Eastern Counties, and that I wanted to make a difference at Twickenham. I am confident that I have made a difference during my tenure but after the 2015 Rugby World Cup there were others that were better placed than me to take the community game forward. Rather than hang on without making any significant contribution at a national level, I left the following season.
So I moved to London. I live overlooking the Wasps FC ground in Twyford Avenue and although I stepped away from admin, my love of the grass-roots game is undiminished. When the 2017/18 season started I went along to see what was happening at the ground and it was a hive of activity, being the home of a number of clubs in West London. One of the teams playing a warm-up game was Old Priorians, the old boys team from my school St Benedict’s in Ealing. Since then I have spent many Saturdays at the school ground of my youth watching OPs playing at Level 6, or if they were playing away in the further reaches of East Anglia, I would watch Colchester if they were playing in London.
Old Priorians is an amateur club with most of the players being old boys of the school and with few members over 40. An exception is the President, Peter Halsall, who came to teach at St Benedict’s during my last year there. If he couldn’t make a home game I would step in to meet and greet opposition committee and supporters, many of whom I knew from clubs such as North Walsham, Luton, Diss, Southend, Sudbury and of course Colchester. Towards the end of last season I offered my help on the club committee and at the recent AGM I was duly elected as the RFU and NW Cluster rep. It is a role that I hope my experience over the years will be of help to local clubs as well as OPs.
I intend to avoid falling into the trap of putting my hand up for too many jobs. These past two seasons without a role have allowed me to just enjoy the game, and I know what it is like to be an overworked volunteer. It will also give me an excuse to regularly contribute once again to this blog, something I have enjoyed, even though readers may not fell the same. Maybe I will write about playing, watching and administering rugby in the capital compared to the game in rural East Anglia, mixed with reminiscences of good and not so good times serving on the Eastern Counties and RFU committees.
So check back every few weeks or so to see what ramblings I have committed to the web.