Above from L to R: Errol Slater (co-founder) Julia (London Stone Properties Sponsor) Louise (Barclays Bank – Matching funds raised by Royal Arsenal Tag Rugby) John Gavin (co-founder) Peter Johnston and Richard Russ Wooden Spoon Charity
As RARC were drawing the year to a close, Super Saturday (Dec 9th) brought one final event to the RA to mark a fantastic year for the club.
The day kicked off with our promo team welcoming residents and visitors to the RA Farmers Market. Our very own Wu-Tag Clan band provided entertainment as a warm-up to the handover of our record-breaking donation of £1,892 to the Wooden Spoon charity. Funds had been raised through the various RARC events that took place throughout the year – and our local Barclays branch generously doubled our donations!
We then took the opportunity to present our new 2017/2018 club kit, which we proudly wear during our league games. Special thanks to our loyal sponsors London Stone Properties, Hop Stuff Brewery and EJSi ltd. for their contributions.
To close the day, the annual Christmas party returned to the Dial Arch: Secret Santa, ping pong and chili chocolate made this an unforgettable evening for our RARC members, friends and sponsors. 2018 has a lot to live up to!
Article by Tanja Pavlov – Player / Club Membership Officer
Following an Injury which left me unable to play/compete for many months, I became increasingly interested in thinking of ways to support the club and still keep the social aspect in my life, whilst not being able to play. Not one to be beaten, after watching a few games I decided that I’d like to try refereeing and haven’t looked back since!
Painfully aware that my knowledge of the rules needed work, on behalf of the club I contacted an outside body who provided sessions and so came about our first ‘How to be a Ref’ session … we’ve now attended 2 and I’d like to think the skills of those who attended are already improving.
Going forward we want to keep up this atmosphere of learning and building skills/knowledge as an integral part of the club, so I’ve put myself forward to champion learning and development going forward – any questions or suggestions let me know
In the meantime, we will continue to look for more opportunities to develop the skills of our members and enhance play for all.
Hannah (HB) – Player / Committee Member
THEN AND NOW – HOW THE CLUB HAS GROWN
In October 2017 I made the superb decision to move back to Woolwich. I figured that it wasn’t only a great place to live, but it is also a great place to play rugby with great people. How right I was.
Since moving back, I’ve had a chance to reflect on how things have changed (i.e. John totally asked me).
When I lived here in 2014 – 2015 a handful of us used to chuck a rugby ball around on a Sunday
morning in Wellington Park. We would screw the grass up so much people were complaining on
Royal Arsenal Connect (fame!). Soon, Sunday tag was a highlight of my week – it is the perfect thing
to do on a Sunday morning (with other possible exception of a perfect poached egg on sourdough
toast, that is. #middleclass).
Now, Sunday tag in the park has grown into something much more than that. It is amazing how
much the club has grown. We often have 20 or so people on a Sunday, and I see new faces every
week! The benefits of this growth are huge. More numbers mean more options for all levels in
terms of learning, games, leagues, and tournaments, and of course – a larger community of friends.
I’m delighted. Clearly, the Club committee has been wonderfully devoted to moving things on – and
they still are.
So, where does the future lie? This isn’t for me to say. However, what I would suggest is that if we
continue to grow our membership, stay true to our welcoming and inclusive community spirit, and
ensure that everyone – at every level of playing ability – can get involved, then we will continue to
have, quite frankly, an awesome time.
Josh Pugsley – Member Player| Sub Committee Coaching/Development RARC
Kyle started playing rugby at school boy level at the age of 13. He went on to play a variety of positions within the pack through his school career getting to 3 finals and winning one.
After leaving school he joined the local club and went on to captain his u18s side to 3rd in the league and a semi final.
Upon stepping up to senior rugby he played for the 2nds for two years before a move to london for university at Ravensbourne.
After moving into the Royal Arsenal area he joined the club and is an integral part of the clubs development and management.
Josh Pugsley was a late convert to rugby (his first try was score in 2010, at the tender age of 27). He has since played a significant amount of contact rugby sevens with his University team, and has dabbled in Rugby League, Union, as well as Aussie Rules Touch. He thinks he is faster than he is and still struggles to spin a ball off his left hand.
Josh is now involved with The Royal Arsenal Rugby club and trains tag every Sunday at 11am with set up drills approx. 30 minutes before gameplay.
Sunday 14th January saw our very first challenge match on home turf, the sports field opposite the Woolwich barracks. The opposition was ‘Beasts from the East’ another South East London team. There was an impressive turnout on the day, both players and some club officials who turned out to support, the club. It was especially encouraging to see excellent representation on the ladies side, including some new faces. We are not always blessed with great conditions in winter but on this occasion the weather was perfect for tag. A dry day with an extremely mild temperatures.
To the game itself. From the kick-off it was clear that neither team was prepared to hang about and in the opening minute we had the first score with a breakaway try for the RA team. This was an ideal start and a good way to settle any opening butterflies. The ‘Beasts’ replied fairly quickly after that and that set the tone for most of the first half, with the teams matching each other score for score. The game remained tight like this with neither team gaining the upper hand till around the 15 minute mark. In the 5 minutes leading up to the break the RA team gained the upper hand with a flurry of tries including some 2 pointers from the girls. This resulted in a half time margin of 6 points, with RA leading by 11 to 5. So things were looking good at half time and the team talk revolved around ‘more of the same’ for the second half, with no need to go for broke just match the opposition in the second half.
That’s exactly what the team did. They maintained their superiority, controlled the match and never at any point looked like surrendering the lead. In fact they managed to extend this by the mid-point in the second half. The beasts put up a spirited fight and came on strong towards the end managing to claw back some of the deficit but RA were able to maintain the gap and the game ended with an impressive win 17/11 in favour of the RA team. This was a great game to watch and one of the most sporting matches I’ve witnessed, with all of the players observing the rules and the match played in the true spirit of tag, highly competitive but fair.
After the game it was handshakes all round and then a quick hike back down the hill to the arsenal with both teams indulging in some well-deserved post-match food and drink. For an inaugural challenge match it couldn’t have gone much better and this type of competitive match with a team of a similar standard helps to raise the skill levels and develop team play. So look out for more of the same in the future. The ‘Beasts’ will be keen for a rematch, I’m sure, to even up the scores.
By Martin O’Donnell – Member/Player/Ref
Photos From The Day IN FULL