February – Valentines Fun Run For Local Community (FREE) – Fundraised for Positive Mental Health / Donators=London Stone Prop: Zeebadee Day Care Centre: Taproom: Travel Direct Ltd: Ejs Ltd
March – Six Nations Blitz Fun Event for Local Community (FREE and up to 50 participated)– Fundraised For Home Start Charity (1000 pounds)
April – Our very first monthly newsletter goes out to members and fans
June – Participated in Queens Day Celebration – First Demo Day in Public
July – New Emblem Design Starts
August – Black Tie Summer Gala – Fundraised 1020 pounds for Wooden Spoon and Fundraised for Touch Rugby Tournament /
Sept – Medway RFC 1st Away Game / New Kit Design and Purchase (16/17 Season)
Oct – First Entry to North London Tag Festival / Zombie Fun Run Local Community (FREE) – Fundraised
Dec – RFU Affiliation
I was first introduced to tag rugby on a wet and windy November day on Blackheath almost 2 years ago. It was part of a weekend long wedding celebration and the groom, a rugby aficionado, in his wisdom thought it a good idea to kick off events on the Saturday with a tag rugby game for the fellas. Never having played rugby before, it was a bit novel, but I knew the basics, (don’t pass forward) so with a minimum of instruction I was off and running. The game itself was highly enjoyable despite the weather and the irony of Pink Prosecco at half time was not lost on me. It definitely improved my game in the second half. The groom, who shall remain nameless, decided to showboat half way through the match. He capped a particularly mazy run and try by diving spectacularly over the line. Unfortunately he dived on top of the ball. This resulted in several hours spent in A & E and confirmation of the source of his breathing difficulties – a punctured lung. Lesson number 1 – don’t showboat.
If I’ve put you off already with talk of injury, let me point out that the injury here was self-inflicted. It is very much a non-contact sport and while injuries can occur in any situation the absence of contact means they usually only happen when you do something you shouldn’t. Don’t get the wrong impression either, that ‘Tag’ is a male preserve. The girls play it and very well too. Being slight can be a distinct advantage especially if you have a ‘feint’ and a turn of speed. Tag rugby tournaments usually involve mixed teams with at least 2 or 3 ladies per team and a score by a female player is twice as valuable as a fella’s.
So what’s the hard part of learning to play tag rugby for a rugby novice? Well the fundamentals are not too difficult and with a brief 5 minute instruction you can be playing effectively right from the off. What is difficult to overcome at first is that inbuilt instinct which says ‘I’ve got to get rid of the ball’ when someone is about to tackle you. Don’t worry, everyone does it at first and your team mates will soon divest you of any bad habits and let you know that ‘taking a tackle’ is a better option than giving the ball away to the opposition.
So what’s happened in the period of almost 2 years since that first introduction to the sport? Well some of those involved thought it would be a good idea to get a regular weekly game going. So it started off with a handful of people playing a bounce game in Wellington Park in the Arsenal on a Sunday morning. More people joined and before too long we had increased to 6 and 7 a side and on occasion the numbers meant we could organise a 3 team round-robin game. A Wednesday training night was added to brush up on the moves and this continues throughout the summer. The short nights means we have to suspend this through the winter months.
Before too long the number of players on a Sunday meant we had outgrown Wellington Park and had to move to the playing fields opposite the Royal Artillery Barracks up near Woolwich common. This provides more space and a better playing surface and is only a short walk from the Arsenal. The standard of play has definitely benefitted from having a number of experienced rugby players involved. This has helped educate those like myself with no previous experience, improved the overall standard of play and developed the tactical side of the game.
The club now has a formal structure with a committee organising events and we have returned to ‘The Heath’, scene of that auspicious first event, with two charity competitions “The Rugby Blitz”. These have been extremely successful with a number of different teams participating and significant sums raised for charity on each occasion. We also had our inaugural Annual Gala in the Guardhouse back in August. This was a huge success which was not only a great night out, but resulted once again in a very worthwhile contribution to ‘Wooden Spoon’ a rugby related charity.
So what’s to enjoy about tag rugby? For me there’s nothing better than getting together with a bunch of friends and having a good run about on a Sunday morning. The game is at 11am so it’s a perfect time – not too early and still plenty of time to do whatever needs to be done on a Sunday. As for the games themselves, yes they can be competitive, but they are always played in a spirit of fairness. We found out early on that games benefitted from having someone referee, and some players have taken up this side of the game, refereeing the regular Sunday games and competitions. The social side is highly enjoyable too. The Sunday games and mid-week training provide an opportunity to meet people make new friends and catch up with old ones. There is usually a gathering in the Cornerstone Café after the Sunday game, for breakfast or a coffee. We are always looking for new players to come and join us, so if this little article has piqued your interest why not come along and join us on a Sunday morning 11am. If you are new to the Arsenal or maybe even been here a while and haven’t managed to make many friends it is a great way to expand your social circle. Games and events are advertised on the Facebook Page, (Royal Arsenal Tag Rugby Club) so go on have a look……..you know you want to!!
Martin O Donnell – RARC
Royal Arsenal RFC 2016 Xmas Party ‘Kris Kringle’ (Secret Santa Gift Giving) Rules