Hello, welcome to the weekly catch up.

Hello, welcome to the weekly catch up. I would mention first of all, although I anticipate that you have seen already on the website mention that the Fixtures for the Men's First Team are out. There are two versions one on the RFU website that is incomplete, one on the RFU North website that seems complete and perhaps is the one to follow. These should be followed in, hopefully, short order by the Women's and the Junior Teams. I understand that the template for the mini and juniors is also well progressed and Kevin Brookman and Tony Rogers will no doubt circulate that among coaches and managers.

The fixtures show new challenges with trips to Keswick and Bowden, with Altrincham Kersal, Vale of Lune and Wilmslow back with us. I know, save for a few days when it became a cellar for the Ball that the gym is being well used and training starts soon.  You should look out for September trips to Penrith and the Isle of Man, could be the chance to top up your summer tan, or maybe burn off the rust!

It was quite a busy week last week.  I attended the Mini and Junior coaches’ meeting last Thursday.  It is good to see the level of engagement there is supporting this section and also to appreciate further on behalf of the Club how the section supports the Club.  As with all levels of rugby there are rule changes afoot that are designed to increase participation, although from listening to the coaches, participation for all is high in their priorities anyway.  We also discussed how we could recognise and involve those who predominantly give up Saturdays to rugby with those who give up Sundays to help join the Club up further.  If people have ideas please share them.  A number of points were discussed that we will look to implement and Stuart Turner attended to see what help the senior teams could provide.

Friday saw us host Disco Bingo, held inside in view of the numbers that were a little less that we had hoped, but the evening was enjoyable, We had a number of people from outside the Club who joined in and contributed fully making it a really fun and lively event.  The entertainment provided in and around the bingo was really positive and engaged us all. The music had enough of that nostalgic disco edge that even had me moving a bit!

It warmed me up for Saturday and the Ball, well the weather was not going to, and I hope those who attended really enjoyed it, the Ball not me trying to dance!  It was great to see a wide representation from all sections and the enthusiasm shown on the dance floor I hope heartened those in the organising committee who worked so hard to put the event on and I thank all of them collectively for making this happen.  I also would thank those who helped on the night and everyone who supported the event.  It is always a shame when these evenings have to end, we try to start early and finish these events at a reasonable time to be considerate of our neighbours and the Club benefits in the long term from your co-operation in this.  From me, thanks to all of you again.

If people have ideas of what we can run at the Club as inclusive events then let Raychel and Sammy know.  We have talked for some time about creating a Social Committee with representation from each section and maybe that is something we can get off the ground.  Any volunteers would be great. Also I am aware that sections and age groups organise events and if they need a few more tickets selling please advertise them within the Club.

I wanted to mention a couple of awards that have come to my attention, Mark Flett, my predecessor was recognised as a valued volunteer by Lancashire County at a presentation evening recently something that is well deserved by someone who has served the Club energetically, raised funds, he does love a raffle, and supported teams throughout the Club enthusiastically.

I was also really pleased to hear about another well-deserved award at the Lancashire Player's Dinner where our own Rachael Thomas received a presentation recognising her commitment and loyalty to the Lancashire Women's Team, who she has represented more than 30 times, a great achievement in any day and age.  Rachael has also shown the same commitment to the Firwood Waterloo Women's team, being a big part of the journey to the Tyrrell's Premier 15's and on reaching the highest level helping the team compete in a challenging league.  She deserves her award and I look forward to watching her win many more awards.

As I mentioned last week the Women have started training. They are working at the new astro turf pitch at Jericho Lane for now and I welcome both returning and new players to the new season. Also we have added new strength and conditioning support with a link through Gill Burns' former S&C coach Neil Parsley and the Underground Training Station Gym at Hoylake who have re-introduced as S&C coach an old favourite Rob O'Donnell who many will remember playing for us before moving off on a professional rugby journey.  I hope all benefit from this link.  Additional assistance will be provided by the link with a sports psychologist, Doctor Moira Lafferty from University of Chester, to add to the support team required to compete at the top level.  Welcome to all our new team members.

To conclude can I mention one player whose training will be a little more advanced.  Sarah Beckett has been selected in the England squad to travel to San Diego for the Super Series of internationals which looks to be a very challenging event with some of the leading nations present.  Good luck Sarah.

Great thing about the game, people you meet, places you can travel, clubhouses you can smarten up, but more of the latter next week, first of all have a brilliant weekend.



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