There is a real sense of sadness in this week’s blog with the news that our Director of Rugby Ian Hassall is stepping down. Ian has been a tremendous servant of the Club over many years and his commitment and dedication has been outstanding.
As a junior coach he led the Club to three Yorkshire Cup victories and a Yorkshire League One title. Many young players have gone on to play representative rugby right up to international level under his direction and encouragement. As a senior coach he has put his heart and soul into the Club over a prolonged period and now feels the time is right for others to have a go.
We are delighted that he will be staying with us (and running the Beer Festival next year) and enjoying watching rugby without having the stress and strains of before, during and after the games. On behalf of the Club I sincerely thank you for your efforts and look forward to a quiet pint with you, when you can simply enjoy the game you love.
This week the 1st XV welcome mid-table Old Grovians to Mallorie Park. Over the years we have enjoyed some good encounters with bragging rights probably shared. There is the old adage with today’s opposition ‘it depends which Grovians turn up!’ Whilst they have had a mixed season, they are a capable outfit and as this season unfolds, we know every game is a challenge.
Despite a huge effort last week we succumbed to high flying local rivals Northallerton 24-10, which leaves us in the bottom three with a slight gap opening up. In simple terms we need to keep going and try and get some momentum; although the changes in personnel last week were not as many as some recent games, we still had eight. We are in a battle and can only encourage the players to work their way through it.
The 2nd XV are also at home today facing Middlesbrough 3 in the North Yorkshire Trophy. We wish the team good luck in today’s match and hope they progress in the Cup competition. We have a good mixture of experience and youth on the team sheet which is always great to see, showing the diversity of the club.
I hope everyone enjoys the game today and a thank you goes to our President, Mr Keith A. Anderson for hosting today’s Christmas lunch.