IRONSIDES RUGBY IS BACK - MESSAGE FROM THE CLUB PRESIDENT - 3 APRIL 2021
At last Ironsides Rugby is back! After a year with no rugby and the clubhouse closed we can return albeit for a limited period. The Government's recent Covid-19 spring roadmap has allowed organised outdoor sport from 29th March and we are of course taking full opportunity to do so.
Senior Men and Ladies have begun training and Ironsides Juniors are back on Sunday 4th April for a 4 week period. As usual our Section Chairs and committee members continue to work hard to ensure we fully comply with RFU / Covid 19 protocols and Wandsworth Council requirements in order to keep all our Ironsiders as safe as we possibly can.
We anticipate a very busy Sunday with Ironsiders at multiple venues and we are expecting about 800 players in our first week back. The first 4 weeks will be at our home venues with our Youth age groups possibly getting some Surrey Tournament away fixtures after April. As always please look out for messaging from your Section Chairs / age groups.
So once again our green, white, red and black colours will be seen across Wandsworth at the weekends!
Our players, coaches and many club members should of course already be fit for the next few weeks thanks to the wonderful Rugby Fit programmes we have run from January - organised and delivered by our excellent club strength and conditioning coach Jason St Clair. The 6 programmes gave an opportunity for all players and members to participate and they have been a huge online success. We have now added a Thursday online Pilates Class also hugely popular.
The Ironsides Big Night In in March was a great lockdown Club event on the eve of the England v Ireland 6N game. Our younger players and parents enjoyed Family Fun and Games in the first half. In the second half we had 2 former international players as guest speakers Brian Moore and Tyrone Howe with our own Dave Watson and Ross Lynham-Carter leading a fascinating and informative discussion.
This event was also an opportunity to raise funds for our 3 Ironsides' charities namely St George's NHS Charity, 3 Pillars, the Tag Rugby Trust and in addition Comic Relief 2021. To date we have raised a total of £853 just from this evening – if you wish to donate to these amazing causes here is the link: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/IronsidesRugbyBigNightIn/1
This evening was also another opportunity for us to support the local community and local businesses and for the Big Night In we teamed up with local restaurants to provide and deliver special Ironsides food and drink.
The Ironsides Rugby Quiz took place in February and proved to be another fabulous and well attended and fun lockdown evening.
In January and February the Ladies organised a Q and A session with three England Internationals Hannah Botterman, Bryony Cleal and Poppy Cleal who gave out prizes to the best questions from our Ladies. The Ladies also had a couple of Zoom boot camps with another England International Vicky Fleetwood.
Do watch out for these players in the England squad for the Women’s 6 Nations which starts this weekend and which should prove to be a fantastic and exciting few weeks of international Women’s rugby.
Incidentally all of these lockdown events were organised on a "one club" basis and offered free to our members and we all very pleased with their success.
Looking forward I am pleased to report that work is now underway to reopen the Clubhouse. The grounds and clubhouse are managed on behalf on the whole sports club by BISOL Ltd which is made up of representatives from each of the 4 sports which make up the Sports Club (namely Rugby, Football, Cricket and Junior Sport). BISOL advise that they are currently anticipating the club reopening in June at the earliest. There is also a wider review of how food and drink can be more effectively delivered and it is expected a new and even better solution will be in place by the new season.
I am sure we all thoroughly enjoyed the recent Guinness Six Nations which was a timely reminder of just how fascinating, unpredictable and enjoyable this remarkable game is. Whilst we enjoy the internationals let us not forget that it is grassroots rugby clubs such as ours that underpin the continuing success of the whole game.
At Ironsides we pride ourselves on being a community as well as being part of the local community. We have endeavoured throughout the Covid 19 pandemic to keep engaging with our members whether through activities, entertainment, information, updates, guidance on Covid 19 protocols and so on. In return we have been delighted at the response of our members perhaps measured not just by the numbers participating but also that activities have included some of our very youngest members through to some of our most senior former players.
I am hugely grateful to every single member of our various committees, especially the Junior MC, the Senior MC, the Ladies MC and the Club MC who have all worked incredibly hard on Club business throughout the pandemic. We really do have so many exceptional people prepared to give up so much of their time for the benefit of this Club.
We can now look forward with caution to moving out of lockdown - whilst never forgetting the suffering, the loss and the mental health issues that many have experienced during the pandemic. Meanwhile please do continue to stay safe, stay optimistic and stay strong - for we are Ironsiders.
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