Rugby Club - Semester 1 Report 2016-17
Saturday 28 January 2017
The 2016-17 season got off to the most promising of starts with record attendance at the first training session following on from two hard weeks of pre-season. To support the numerical expansion of the club the coaching staff were bolstered by the arrival of Argentinian forwards coach Luis Arola, and backs coach Chris Martin. Immediately their impact was felt with successive pre-season victories over Bishop’s Burton and Durham, the former currently playing in the league above the Saints. Add in a superb leadership programme from the erstwhile Director of Operations for the British and Irish Lions, and the club looked set for one of their best seasons to date across the board.
In what was surely the club’s proudest accolade to date, the Men’s 1st XV completed a record fourth successive victory over chief rivals Edinburgh in the Scottish Varsity match. Despite a slow start the team, led by fly half Scott Docherty, looked commanding in their 24-12 triumph. This achievement was made all the more remarkable by a student body three times smaller than Edinburgh’s.
October saw the start of the BUCS leagues, with all three teams in action. In what could perhaps be viewed as a Varsity hangover, the 1st XV went down to a resilient Edinburgh side. However, in the standout fixture of the month, the 2nd XV fought to secure a 22-24 away win to Dundee, the gutsy team containing 11 Freshers.
Last year’s tough season in BUCS Premier North B seemed a thing of the past, as the 1st XV secured convincing victories over Durham, Loughborough and Worcester. Overall the undisputed fixture of the season proved to be a last-gasp win against Scottish adversaries Strathclyde, with winger Roland Walker capitalizing on a well-executed chip and chase. With the 1st, 2nd and 3rd XV positioned 2nd, 3rd and 4th in their respective leagues there is all to play for going into the New Year.
To supplement the on the pitch success, the club has thrived off it. Socials have been as emphatically attended as ever. Whilst obviously highly enjoyable to all involved, the key social events of the calendar, namely Movember Ball and Wednesday Night Lights attracted hundreds of onlookers between them and generated in excess of £4,000 for the club’s designated charities.
Looking into the New Year the club aims to continue, and progress on with an already excellent season. With the annual St Andrew’s 7’s tournament and a showcase game against Edinburgh as part of the Melrose 7’s, the future looks very bright indeed.
A massive intake of new members after a huge recruitment drive in Freshers’ Week, following an intense pre-season week was a successful start to the season for Saints WRFC. During pre-season, the girls and coaches discussed our new vision of becoming the “Best Student Rugby Club in the World”, something that we are seeking to build and develop in terms of performance, but also in our social activities and engagement with the community, the University, and Internationally.
Attending the Queen of the 10s Tournament was a great warm-up for the squad ahead of Varsity, and despite defeat at Murrayfield, we showed incredible team spirit in front of a supportive St Andrews crowd, and had plenty to build upon going in to our BUCS fixtures. After a shaky start, we improved immensely throughout the semester, integrating our beginners in to the squad and exploring the potential of our senior girls in different positions. We have played some great rugby, despite the scoreboards not always reflecting this. Our new recruits have been attending National Development League sessions led by Scottish Rugby in order to get game experience and increase their confidence in contact. They have met such opportunities with an enthusiasm and eagerness that has revitalised the club dynamics. A particular highlight for the team was beating Durham to progress to the next round of the BUCS trophy, and we look forward to welcoming Edgehill to St Andrews for the next round. Video analysis and regular team meetings have been integral to this semester, and with S&C attendance at an all-time high and a new Facebook group, ‘#RugbyFit’, to share our progress in the gym over the Christmas break, we are determined to go into next semester as a stronger side.
Off the pitch, we have been working hard to increase engagement and develop new partnerships. We are supporting the Teenage Cancer Trust and Women 4 Women International, and have fundraised through a pub quiz and a ‘Back to School’ fundraiser in Club 601. We have raised over £150 for the Teenage Cancer Trust, as well as supporting them through our involvement in Sports Stripped. We also had two girls join the Bone Marrow register, and raised £30 for ‘Coppafeel’ by wearing something pink to Sinners.
Our social scene has been as vibrant as ever; from movie nights and bake offs to a trip to the Autumn Test match Scotland v Australia at BT Murrayfield.
In terms of increasing our presence within the University, we have been collaborating closely with the Men’s committee, supporting them at home games, fundraisers and the annual Movember ball, as well as attending other sports clubs’ matches. We participated in the Environment Team’s Cycletricity and ran Touch Rugby on the beach during Green Week.
Christmas dinner had the biggest ever attendance, and a massive thank you must go to our sponsors at Sandys for hosting! Our first ever Saints WRFC Christmas card for friends, family and alumni was a huge success, and we are ending the semester with a ‘Because of Rugby’ social media campaign, to highlight the positive effects of Women’s Rugby in each of our lives.
Posted under: Performance