seasons WOBS RFC are still going very strong.
an amazing turnaround to our 2004-05 league season, with a strong second
half of the season to secure us a safe mid-table position - and the annual
comment that "if we had played our best team each weekend then we
would have won every League game" was truer this year than ever before.
Although we didn't manage to achieve week-by-week consistency (and skipper
Rob Carson has reported elsewhere on the reasons for this), there were
many highlights - both in victory and in defeat. My own favourite games
were the victories over Old Walcountians and Raynes Park, which were particularly
sweet and were critical to our revival, but perhaps it was our narrow
defeats against League Winners Shirley Croydon Wanderers and third placed
Old Alleynians which gave the best indication of the WOBS' true grit and
Off the pitch,
I set the WOBS four key objectives for the season, and it is on these
that I'd like to report in more detail now. The four objectives were:
1. Manage our Cash better
2. Bring in new younger WOBS to the club.
3. Acknowledge and nurture the support provided to WOBS Rugby by the Vice
4. Secure Sponsorship.
On the first objective we have made slow and steady progress, which has
just about kept the wolf at bay, but we have more to do. The year started
with a back-log of unpaid subs and match fees which we have worked hard
to recover. Weekly match-fees are now collected routinely with great efficiency
but we remain 'uncommercial' at getting our cash, for Annual Subs particularly,
in early. We can do better - and should be making better use of standing
orders. And some members still have old debts to repay.
Without cash, we cannot run the club - but without players there would
be no point to the Club at all. The WOBS have a tremendous group of stalwarts
who have being playing season after season, many of whom are still young,
but we also need new and younger talent, even if just to run in the long-distance
tries in our Sevens competitions. Which is why we have made big efforts
in recent years with a two-pronged recruitment strategy. Firstly, we keep
in good contact with recent leavers through the traditional Young vs Old
WOBS game at the school in mid-September, which we now supplement with
the popular Cronk Under 21 competition, where the Young WOBS have had
great success, reaching the Semis at the first attempt. The net result
of this effort has been to keep the club fully in the minds of School
Leavers, and we have secured the services of several players on a regular
basis directly as a result of these efforts. Key people who have helped
with these activities have been Max McAlister who is a great motivator,
Ben Green, and most recently Jamie Bruce, who had a fine season with the
WOBS this year. The second prong in the Recruitment strategy has been
to keep in contact with WOBS graduates as they return to the capital with
their first class degrees. Again in this area we have had success with
Tom Holt a major influence, bringing in Andys Tyler and Pollen to bolster
the club's back division this season - and they intend to bring in another
new batch next season. The trick here is to make sure that all Uni WOBS
know that they can get a game when they visit for holidays. Which they
This effort of Recruitment and Registration will be coordinated in future
by Ben Calnan, who has made great efforts on a week-by-week basis to support
the Saturday squad, and to encourage younger players to join the WOBS.
The Vice Presidents are our unsung heroes and, quite frankly, without
them - and of course the support from the WOBS Society - we could not
operate as we do, and we would not have achieved our aspirations to have
a secure home ground. This year we have increased our commitment to the
Whiteley Village ground through a significantly longer lease, for 7 years
on this occasion. I think we have slightly taken this group of 20 worthy
supporters for granted and, although they benefit from access to International
Tickets and can follow our progress on the web, we haven't done as much
for VPs as we should have. I'd like to formally acknowledge the help that
they have given, and promise that in the coming season there will be more
chances to meet the WOBS and, if they wish to, get more involved socially
with the club. A follow-up Vice Presidents' Dinner is being planned. The
players and the Club as a whole really appreciate the outstanding generosity
of our VPs.
We intended to secure new sponsorship this season, but regrettably have
not. This is a wasted opportunity which places unnecessary financial pressure
on our VPs, the WOBS Society and on ourselves. We intend to rectify the
situation within the next months, and I would ask that any ideas on this
subject are sent to me or to Rob Carson and Teds Littlewood who are jointly
taking the lead to secure a Sponsor.
The Club also relies on the contribution of several committed individuals
to whom I would like to extend my personal thanks. On the Committee we
have our Treasurer Bobby Horvath, Club Captain Jon Nickell (still applying
his considerable legal skills, and considering his playing future), and
playing reps Paul Kozary (Fixtures) and our new skipper Rob Carson - who
has done a tremendous amount this season to for the club, taking over
from Chris Jackson after 3 seasons of inspirational leadership from Jacko.
An enormous amount of dull administrative work is done by our Secretary
Harry Fisher and we are really indebted to the efforts Harry continues
to make for the WOBS.
committee, there has been more grass-roots help from players in recent
seasons. In addition to those I have already mentioned above, I'd like
also to acknowledge the help we have had from our non-Worth WOBS: in particular
from Richard Hammond on the thankless Dinner task, from Teds Littlewood
for taking on the Shirts/Sponsorship, and for Lee Howard for leading the
Sevens effort with real distinction this year. And especial thanks to
Paul Benson who manages our website [www.wobsrugby.com] so well that one
wonders what else he does at work. We have untapped potential amongst
this important and loyal group within the WOBS - not just on the playing
field - which we would do well to use more in the future.
And of course,
special thanks go to all the friends, girlfriends, wives and supporters
who come to watch. Whether regular (thank you Nickell family, Poppy, Dr
Alex, and Terence with his ridgebacks) or occasional, your support is
always appreciated, especially the stronger ones who join the lovely 'mother
of all WOBS' Julie in the kitchen to feed our heroes after the game. The
Silver Fox thanks you all, and of course Tony Blair for banning the hunt,
Calnan Saturday, 18th June 2005.