View from the Touchline from David Page, Director of Rugby : Good afternoon and welcome to Fowlers Wells. Please can I extend a very special warm welcome to the Players, Coaching staff, Medical team and Alecadoo’s from our visitors today Twickenham. Our away game at Twickenham was a very tight affair with Chobham coming out victors 23 -12, the performance that day by the home side really does belie their current league position and we will have to be on our guard today. It is a pleasure to also welcome some former players of mine from our previous life in Hersham and I hope that they enjoy their day here – but in the words of President Heslop – not too much!
It seems like an eternity since we all last met and enjoyed a pre-Christmas drink. Well, it is a month ago that we played Dover at Chobham and we ended off the year with a win that still keeps us in touching distance of 2nd place. Last weeks away game versus Medway was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. This can be verified by one of our illustrious front row players who told me that it was so wet that his father who lives in Kent got absolutely soaked going to the bookies; and it had been raining cats and dogs for a week. His words were slightly more descriptive than mine!!!!
On the injury front, we have positive reports on Ollie Smith and Josh Devitt. Alex Thompson has resumed light training. Ryan Gregory is well on the road to recovery and should be back with us soon. Harry Guy should be playing some 2nd games soon in order to regain match fitness. Simon Greenhalgh is three weeks away from having his plaster cast removed. Arran Mawson is awaiting further scans. Sonny is due to have an operation on his knee at the end of January. Tom Riley is out for the season due to injury and work commitments. Dave Askew is undergoing further scans on an undiagnosed injury. That list is very hefty and shows the quality of player that we have been missing for a large part of the season and it is credit to the players who have been involved that we are still in the position we are. With these players back it is hoped that we can continue a challenge for 2nd spot.
On the playing side we gave debuts to Teo Bogdanov; who joined us recently from London Irish, and the Dover game saw the return from University of several players whose quality is well known. Their inclusion into the match day squad shows the huge impact the Mini and Junior sections of the club have; as they all came up through the age groups within the club. This is testimony to the work that so many parents who manage the various age groups have on the overall success of the club – a club that is so proud of its “Mighty Chobham” tag.
Last Saturday the Harlequins v Saracens game saw over 300 Chobham Minis cheering the Mighty Quins onto victory and providing the guard of honour. I hear from Quins that they were mightily impressed with the vocal support given. Well done lads, lassies, mums and dads from the Minis.
Today is our Veterans Lunch, run and organised by the Martyrs – the proud past Chobham players. These warriors of old are true stalwarts of the Club, with many battle stories; most of which have an 18 censorship warning. It is with some trepidation that I look forward to the Paignton trip in March. As a tour virgin, I am somewhat apprehensive of what fate awaits me. I am told that Tony Seers will look after me. Gentlemen of the Martyrs I sincerely hope you enjoy your day, please ensure you lubricate well and give your full vocal support to our 1st XV this afternoon.
Remember sponsorship opportunities are still available – Player sponsorship, pitch side hoardings, match day programme, match ball sponsorship and a host of other opportunities.
Everyone – enjoy the game, cheer loud and proud for Mighty Chobham and please be that 16th Man.
Finally, I wish you all a Very Happy new year and hope that 2016 will be a healthy, happy and prosperous one for you.