From the Executive Committee
Dear Members and friends of Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club.
When we surveyed you recently there was very clear message that you wanted to know more about the running of the club. So we thought it would be useful to update you all on what has been going on at Ealing over the last few months.
Firstly, who are we? If you wish to know the composition of the Executive Committee then look in “Contacts” on the front page of our website. You should find you know at least one member of the Exec, either one of the Chairs, or Non-Exec members. They are easily contactable by phone or e-mail so please get in touch if you have something to say about Ealing.
We write to you at a perfect moment to reflect as we near the middle-point of the season.
The early months of a new season are always exciting times. Whether you are involved in the 1st XV or the U6s, a new season brings new faces, new ways of doing things, and the promise of great things.
But the start of a season is also where many of us work hardest. We sign up about 1000 players each season, and nearly 200 volunteers, so our first task is to thank every one of you, players, coaches, first aiders, managers, admin, assistants, car parkers, pitch markers, refs, bar staff, TF managers, CRB checkers, and not forgetting kit washers, boot buyers and taxi drivers.
You are Ealing. Be very proud of what you do.
It is also a good moment to talk about our 1st XV as there are several clear trends emerging.
Our squad has been rejuvenated this season. They have played with guts, passion, and a superb team spirit. And vitally, as the ultimate expression of "one club", we finally have players who have come through our Junior structure joining the squad.
There are still quite a few old men (and women) around who remember when we were at Horsenden Hill and dreamed of a continuum from U7 through to 1st XV rugby. Now after 10 years of hard work, that is becoming a reality.
They are fighting for promotion, and they are winning by playing an open, running rugby which is a joy to watch. We hugely recommend that if you haven’t been coming down on Saturdays, you give it a try.
As a member you get National League rugby for free.
In our survey we asked you what you wanted to see change at Ealing, and one overwhelmingly powerful message was you wanted to be more involved with the 1st XV players.
Mike Cudmore and his team moved quickly to make that happen. We now have players each allocated to age groups and more events lined up for the coming weeks. To Minis and Youth age groups we set a challenge – use this invaluable resource for your own benefit.
These players can help you, so work with them.
What is particularly pleasing is the great feedback from the players themselves. This is not a chore for them but a real opportunity to connect with the future of the club.
You also very clearly said that we weren’t doing enough on the social side of rugby. So you will see a range of events during the season, and some of you may have gone to the Race Night, and a few who did may be able to remember how it went….
We don’t want to ignore all the other sections, our Youth, Jades, Emeralds, Minis, amateur Seniors, but for each the message is pretty much the same – things are going well, but there is always more to be done.
Our Minis have for ages been the envy of most clubs, and are as healthy as ever under the revitalising leadership of Mike Stiff.
We have discovered in recent years that delivering a really successful Youth programme is a tough ask.
Dave “Tom” Thomas has taken over from Andy Kileen as Youth Chair and is working hard to continue the strengthening of Youth. We live in a hyper-competitive part of the rugby world and have discovered that Youth requires more resources than Minis. As a result we increased the cost of Youth membership to reflect that. For that small extra our Youth teams get a structured coaching approach led by Corne Du Rand.
Corne’s job has been to join up the coaching available to the professional squad with the coaching in Youth, built around the Ealing Playbook. I think we are starting to see that really delivering at many levels.
Our amateur Senior sides including the Jades have one simple challenge – to keep the numbers up. Amateur rugby is the heart of Ealing but we need help. Much work has been done on recruitment, but we always need more players.
So, please be an ambassador for the club, and tell people you meet to come and see us, or get in touch. Everything you need is on this website.
So what does the Exec do? The Exec has spent much of the summer completely revising all our financial systems, which had failed to keep up with the size of the club, and allowed us to exceed our budget last season. We now have a simple but effective financial system built around professional book-keeping, and the constant monitoring of spend and budgets.
We have much to be grateful for. The facilities at Vallis are superb, and give us the ideal setting to run our club. The sponsorship of the 1st XV is a huge commitment, but it is a personal commitment too. Anyone who has seen Mike and Fiona Gooley sheltering from the rain on the touchline of one of our less salubrious rivals knows that we have more than a sponsor, we have a true supporter.
One difficult area – discipline. As a big club we should be leaders. We have a responsibility to be a positive role model for all who come into contact with us. Mike Stiff is leading a programme to set clear standards for coaches on the touchline in Mini rugby. There have been recent examples of unacceptable behaviour from coaches of other clubs, and we are determined that a line is drawn and we uphold the values that we expect of our game. Our referee section has been a leader in setting standards for officiating. Now it is for other clubs to follow suit.
But everything starts at home, and on two separate occasions volunteers organising our parking on Sunday have been abused. We cannot express how seriously we view this. Volunteers should be treated with courtesy as a minimum. We will adopt a zero-tolerance approach to any further abuse.
It would be quite wrong to end on a negative note. This is a great club. Be proud of what you make it.
Your Executive Committee