Thursday, 14 April 2011

On the Up.

Sunday saw the Chesham women’s team take on the only team in the league which was still unbeaten. Camberley had had a great season. They were scoring huge numbers of tries and had the best defensive record in the league. I have to hold my hands up and say, I did think this was our bridge to far. The team had done well to achieve the results it had done and my major concern was that defeat on the final day would be what defined their season. I was genuinely emotional about the whole thing, afraid the players who had put in so much over the season were going to feel they had failed due to the fact they lost against a team that had beaten everyone they had faced. My thought was whatever the result the team had achieved so much.

As someone who has been involved with the team for about eight years I have helped coaches and I have been the coach of the team and standing there on Sunday waiting for the team to come and warm up I was genuinely caught in the moment, the long season, that looked like it was never going to get off the ground was about to culminate in this one game. All the seasons before went through my head, the first game in my role as coach at Thurrock 3 or four years ago, where on a hot day they were put to the sword by a hugely aggressive well drilled side. Hove away in the same season where we were beaten by 80 points and I looked out of the window of their clubhouse and was lost for ideas, words to say and places to go. I remember standing in the snow wearing nowhere near enough clothes in some far flung part of the country with only a red kicking tee for heat. We had broken legs, broken hands, concussions. I can’t deny it we had some bad moments and we had the toughest season of rugby I have ever been involved in.

All these moments creep into your head and fill you with doubt. I call it the reverse Midas touch. Unlike Midas where everything he touched turned to gold, for me it seemed everything I touched, became something that is only of any use for fertilising a garden. This season was different in so many ways under the head coach all the players had improved the way they played. Even the experienced ones had found new ways to play and had learnt skills throughout the season. This season also saw some girls who had played through the junior ranks playing for the adult team. This is a significant step for the club. More importantly there was an attitude that the girls themselves bought which meant they put themselves out of their individual comfort zones for the good of the team.

Equally important was the amount of girls who came into rugby this season totally new to the sport. They were all willing to try anything, to adapt and in a short space of time and to really become key members in the team. It has been amazing to watch, some of them look like they have been playing for years and the challenge now is bringing in more like minded women for next year.

The result, oh yes I forgot about that, the result was a resounding victory to Chesham, they won by 29 points. After the opening 10 mins I was never in any doubt we were going to win despite spending the last 2 weeks terrified we might not.

I said at the start of the season my involvement in Chesham Rugby Club had bought me some of the best moments in my life and some of my worst. Well Sunday the 10th of April 2011 redefined the list of best moments but I hope I get a chance to beat it.

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