It’s been a fantastic season for the performance rugby program having reflected on our largest haul of BUCS points in 6 years, reaching a Vase Cup final beating super rugby teams on route, and having our 2nds promoted. The progress and development of teams, players and coaches across the club is there for all to see.
Into the sevens season and a number of UBRFC players continue to work on their development over the summer term playing with invitational sides, including the Godfathers Charity Team and touring with UBRFC to Lille. Mac Dale, Max Cresswell, Ewan Evans and Hugh Hamilton-Green caught up with UBRFC alumni Dave Watchorn amongst others when playing in both teams and again made a superb impact, helping the team reach the final of the Edinburgh 7s this year. Olly Bluck and Ewan Evans were also called in as late replacements representing England Students 7s team a national super series over the summer.
The end of term saw the end of the old committee’s duties and the introduction of new Club Captain, Will Sharp, alongside Vice-Captain Hugh Turnbull. A refined committee group of 11 students to take up the mantle this coming 2019/20 season and we’re excited to see how they can drive UBRFC on to the next level. Their first mission to support staff at the University Open days in June, alongside working with the outgoing club captain Hywel Rose to create our new 1876 alumni club and launch our internal UBRFC Maroon.
The 1876 is focused on developing connection with current and past students, whilst the Maroon aims to drive prestige and achievement within the club, building on the superb fixture we had with Oxford Blues this season. I know Hywel and the players are well underway with planning and preparation for the 2019/20 1876 calendar and database building, so for any former players keen to support the club in its endeavours so please get in touch. Both the 1876 Club and Maroon, which also includes anew scholar program for 15 players, are viewed as potential game changers for the club, helping to improve funding, recruitment, touring and much more.
The season finale Club Dinner was well-attended by various guests, including a fantastic last-minute stand in guest speaker, world cup referee Ed Morrison. This year’s club captain Hywel Rose was named club man of the year for all his superb work in the committee and a number of players and coaches were honoured for their great efforts. In particular club manager and
after just one-year Jack Munday who has since signed off having rejuvenated the club image, developed the organisation of the whole program and supported both myself and the committee as we’ve strived to build a performance club for all this past year. A special thanks to Jack and we wish him well in his new job.
We also said thankyou and goodbye, though I suspect we’ll persuade him to continue his brilliant support in some form or another, to our long serving chairman Jon Masters. Speaking from personal experience, Jon works tirelessly behind the scenes to inspire and engage all who are linked with the club to push on and develop every area of it for the benefit of future generations. Jon has been a generous donor of his time, expertise and financially over the years, and on behalf of all the club we’d like to say a special thank you and we look forward to seeing you at an alumni event and pitch side again soon.
It’s been as ever a privilege to see young student athletes grow and develop into the fine young men this season. It’s not been without its challenges on and off the field. What never ceases to amaze me though is how strong the bonds are between the players at the end of a year. Where the culture is evolving, values are being lived, and they have fought for everything and taken on board some very tough lessons. I believe coming out the other side better people for it. It will be fascinating to see how we progress in 2019/20 with increased competition in the top leagues and increased Maroon fixtures with the Navy and Oxford.
A huge thanks to all our Club and Performance programme supporters, all the staff at SEH, our rugby partners, and both Bob Reeves and Jon Masters for their support of the club and committee. As new club ventures kick off, new scholars arrive and new staff pick up the mantle in 2019/20, we will continue the growth of the #WeAreBristol brand and look forward to seeing you at Wednesday night lights game in 2019/20.
Joe Goodman – Head Coach
University of Bristol Rugby