I WENT to Longlevens on Saturday to watch my son Oliver play a local derby against Hucclecote and it was a wonderful occasion for many reasons.
Firstly, because I haven’t had the chance to watch my son play for a year due to my Cinderford commitments.
The other thing that struck me is the talk about the importance of youth rugby.
I was so pleased to see a good number of former Under-17 players, when I used to coach them, from both sides still playing four years later, enjoying their sport and the social side too!
It all got a bit feisty at one point but they tried their hardest and the determination to win was fantastic which was a credit to both sides with a great deal of talent on show.
Hucclecote have had a great season and are second in the table but Longlevens, who are mid table, won by a point 23-22.
Also, Dowty RFC use Longlevens as a clubhouse so on the other pitch they were playing Quedgeley and Hardwicke Harlequins RFC.
It was grass roots rugby at its best and there were guys there of all different shapes, sizes and abilities, chasing the win.
The passion and the desire to win was brilliant and I was stood in between the two pitches watching both games.
It was the first win for Quedgeley in 16 games and they came into the bar afterwards and pleaded with me to give them a mention that they had won.
It was a good day at the office for them and it was great to see rugby still alive and kicking at that level and if they keep going they will improve big time.
So we had many teams in the clubhouse after the final whistles, all watching the England Six Nations game.
It was a brilliant occasion for local Gloucestershire rugby and it showed what it can be like, making for a really good atmosphere and enjoyable afternoon.
RORY, BEN AND JACK ALL DID THE COUNTY PROUD ON THEIR NATIONAL SERVICE
LAST Friday evening I went to watch the England Counties match against France Federale at Ealing Trailfinders, along with Cinderford coaches Dave Pointon and Paul Morris.
As VIP guests we were treated so well and I have to thank everyone for their kind hospitality.
I must say Ealing’s facilities are fantastic. Alongside the rugby clubhouse, they have a building called the Olympic Pavilion which they use for events and such.
It was very swanky and also interesting to listen to Ealing’s director of rugby speak about their plans on getting to Championship level and how they will fare.
It was useful to talk to other directors of rugby on an equal footing without the competitive stress of match days.
There were some good exchanges of information and perspectives in managing and coaching a National One side.
The game itself was very good and England did well winning 27-7.
The two Cinderford lads Ben West and Jack Adams played exceptionally well and I was really pleased with their form.
Mike Old, the Counties’ manager and coach, texted me the following day saying that both guys were a credit to the club and played very well and I should be proud of their achievements.
It was great for the club itself and an honour for the guys. So if you are reading my column again Mike, cheers to you!
One of the highlights was the dinner afterwards where both captains delivered a speech.
The French captain had a translator of course and said some good things.
But I was more impressed by England Counties captain and former Cinderford player, Rory Teague, (pictured) who gave his speech in fluent French and English!
After spending four years playing in France, it was an absolute credit to himself.
He probably spoke more French than English, but he held their attention and the French guys really appreciated it.
I felt very proud of Rory especially seeing as he is a Gloucester lad at heart.
Mange tout Rory!
A WEEK OFF RUGBY? NO CHANCE
EVEN though Cinderford had a week off last weekend, I seemed to never be far from either a rugby pitch or rugby people!
It all started last Thursday night at Nick Wood’s testimonial curry night, which this time was held at Longlevens Rugby Club and was very well attended by a supportive crowd.
Gloucester players Jimmy Cowan and Huia Edmonds were there along with Nick and the club put on a very nice curry.
It was a successful evening and just goes to show the support that Nick is getting on his curry tour of the county as we had a lively question and answer session as ever!
Then on Sunday I went to watch the Old Patesians’ Centenary game against the Gloucestershire Presidents side which turned out to be a bit of a mismatch.
Disappointingly, Old Pats had to play a rearranged league game the day before which meant they were not able to field a full strength side.
Originally the Gloucestershire Under-20s were meant to play an Old Pats second team but in the end the county youngsters had to play their rearranged pool game against North Midlands, funnily enough at Cinderford's ground, which they could not get out of.
The President’s side put together by Paul Morris contained a healthy representation of Cinderford players including the likes of Jack Preece, Steff Hawley and Joe Garner and you could see their class.
It shows the quality we have got at the club and it was good exposure for the guys.
We’re back at it on Saturday against Esher at home and it would be great to see as many people as possible down at Dockham Road especially with Gloucester playing Bath the night before.