A message from Gary Turner, the club Director of Rugby:
Well what a strange end to the rugby season, not one any of us could have predicted back in September when the season started, but as there will be no end of season awards night I thought I would publish my thoughts on our season and the re energising of Longton as a rugby club.
This season the club now feels like a rugby club with a really good social feel both before and after games, big thank you must go to Jez and all his hard working staff for supporting the social side.
On the playing side:
Our paying membership has risen to 55 (it was zero 2 years ago),the players have brought in 38 individual player sponsorship’s, and the club as attracted a new sponsor in Jaguar.
Our first team following 2 successive relegation’s were lying 5th in the league table with a very good home record. Their away record was not so good, but on a personal note it was a pleasure to visit grounds I used to play at many years ago.
After Christmas the squad settled down and the team became consistent. We did recruit during the season with players actually coming and asking if they could sign for Longton.
The playing style and development of some very young and inexperienced backs (Paul Green being the exception) is coming and thanks must go to the coaching staff George Glenn, Gaz Rawlings and Simon Robson for their continued hard work.
Our experienced but ageing pack must be considered the best in the league when everyone is available. I am sure the more senior ones will manage another season as this one has been cut short.
As a management team we are aware of the need to recruit to certain positions and we will be trying hard during this extended closed season to recruit to these positions.
Our seconds had a very successful season and were sitting top of their league. This is a remarkable achievement considering we did not have a 2nd fifteen 2 seasons ago – massive credit to Matt Davies aka Chunky and his new assistant Micky Adams and all the players who played during the season.
If we are successful in recruitment as mentioned above, this will only strengthen the 2nd fifteen and help in the development of players.
We have had a colts side running for the first time in a long time and I think it’s fair to say it’s been a challenge, but we have learned a lot and it will only make the pathway smoother for future juniors as they move up the age groups. A big thank you to the coaching/management team of -Drew, Briggo and Ray and to all the players and parents for supporting this new team.
I understand most of you are eligible to play again next season, which can only benefit the development of a Longton colt’s team. We will be working hard in the closed season to evaluate the learning from this season and include some of the learning/ideas Drew has picked up from attending the meetings with Staffs RFU.
Our Mini & Juniors just seem to go from strength to strength and we now have circa 300 players including our first girls team. These numbers can only benefit the club in the future. That future as already started to look good with our under 13s been crowned county champions (massive congratulations to all involved)
Our integration of the mini and junior section into the wider rugby family started this year with ball boys from various junior sides helping out on first team home games. The coach the coach sessions continue and we are look to get first team players attending 2 sessions next season to support the coaches and help their understanding of the game. First teamers were scheduled to attend and give out Easter eggs after training on the 5.4.20.
Next season club events need be better advertised across the wider club so we start to get a mixture of adults from all areas this in turn will help to grow the cross-team relationships.
A Huge thank you must go out to the mini and junior committee, parents, players and the army of volunteers who support and make rugby available to all throughout the season.
This season has also seen the return of our vets/social side playing games – thanks to Bill and all his hard work in making this happen as its no mean feat getting old men out of their comfy chairs and pulling on their boots. Hopefully we can get this side out once a month next season – this along with our colts entering the new colts league means we could have 2 sides at home on some Saturdays, which again builds the Longton family.
Hope to see you all soon back at the club enjoying the sport we all love.