A group of “usual suspects” set off on a Saturday afternoon outing to watch a Blackheath Rugby Club match against Loughborough.
Blackheath or ‘club’ as they are known by their fans have their home ground at Kidbrooke Lane. It’s a convenient trip from the Arsenal as it’s 20 minutes away on the number 122 bus which you can pick up at the stop on the main road just outside the old Woolwich market building.
The afternoon kicked off in the beer tent, no surprises there. There was a reluctance on the part of some to leave the tent, as there were a number of International games on
TV. The bar staff cured this on kick off by switching the TV off and so it was off to watch what we had come to see.
An excellent first half saw Blackheath peg back an early Loughborough lead to go in ahead at half time. The crisp day had turned bitterly cold and it was back to the beer tent for some half time refreshment, mulled wine in place of cold beer. Have to say I was the most reluctant to leave at the end of the half time interval, as Scotland were giving Australia a right mauling, but again the switching off of the TV provided the right encouragement.
This half we settled for watching the match from the safety of a group huddle at a vantage point just outside the beer tent. The stands were left to the hardy and those with the arctic survival gear. The second half was another well contested and close affair on the park, with Loughborough edging it by a single point. Disappointed – slightly, but this can be quickly overcome in the beer tent. Entertained – definitely. Likely to go back – most certainly. Great day out with a great bunch of folks. Look forward to going back soon.
by Martin O Donnell
To See More Pictures From The Adventure Day Out Blackheath Click HERE
Royal Arsenal Rugby Club is predominantly a social group who play Tag (NON contact) Rugby weekly, based on the Royal Arsenal Riverside SE London, that competes in East London Leagues. On occasions nicknamed “The Wooly Arses”, the club was founded in 2014 by John Gavin and Errol Slater having been inspired by a friend who organised a game in Blackheath South East London. Through sheer dedication and passion it has grown like no other club of it’s kind and are officially accredited to the RFU, the very first Tag Club to be accepted into the organisation. The ambitions will not stop there by any means, because the club have massive plans for the future. With membership increasing monthly, the club are gaining enough interest to one day create a full contact rugby team and have their own clubhouse.
We have so much going on Saturday 9th December. Our promotional booth will be at the RA Farmers Market to raise more awareness about the club (from 11am). Not only that, but at midday, we will be launching our new kit and presenting our charity partner, Wooden Spoon, with a cheque from all of the fundraising we have done recently. Our sponsors will also be present, so it is a great opportunity for the club to show off all the fantastic achievements it has for this year. To top it all off, our rugby band Wu-Tag Clan will be performing at the market to keep everybody moving during the day.
We are happy to announce that our favorite MC, Ed de Gaetano will be joining us again for our year end party in the Dial Arch and can’t wait for his banter and making sure the proceeding go smoothly, along with the spirit of Christmas.
Christmas Jumper Parties are old hat! It’s time to do something new! From 7.30pm, we will be holding an Ugly Sock Party at the pub. As well as coming in your funky Christmas socks, you bring another pair stuffed with your unmarked quirky Christmas gift, and tied up with a bow!
We will be following last year’s Kris Kringle principle (https://royalarsenalblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/17/royal-arsenal-rugby-year-end-xmas-party-let-the-games-begin/), but rather than wrapping your present this year, just stuff them into funny socks, please remove all the shopping tags from them first. It should be no more than £10 in value. Tie your socks together with your prettiest Christmas ribbon and you’re ready to go. The uglier the socks, the better, just make sure they’re Christmassy! There are lots of places to find Christmas socks. Have fun making a new tradition!
Don’t be late, as early comers will receive a welcome drink.
2017 has been an amazing year for the club, and we look forward to celebrating it with you on Saturday.
Wooden Spoon – the children’s charity of rugby.
Wooden Spoon is the children’s charity of rugby, funding life-changing projects across the UK and Ireland since 1983. The charity have distributed in excess of £24 million to more than 650 projects, helping over 1 million children and young people with disabilities and facing disadvantage. This achievement would not be possible without the support of the rugby community who play a huge part in that success.
As part of that community the Royal Arsenal (Tag) Rugby Club has for the past two years been an Official Partner Club of Wooden Spoon and continues to support the charity with innovative and original membership activities and events.
The club’s activities and events help to raise funds and is used by the Wooden Spoon Kent Regional Team to fund programmes in the Kent Region. The Team is made up of dedicated volunteers from across the County who’s role it is to oversee both fund raising and fund spending year on year. Because of this unique set up (and unlike many other charities) you can be assured that none of the funds raised and donated by the club are used to cover the costs of administering a national charity.
Appropriately, one project Kent Wooden Spoon fund annually is a Disability Tag Rugby Programme in partnership with Kent RFU. The programme funds a specialist trained coach and young leaders to deliver a series of adaptive coaching sessions in special schools across the county and culminates in a celebratory festival of tag rugby at a county rugby club. Spoony the Wooden Spoon mascot (pictured) is always the centre of attention at the festival whilst children enjoy a wonderful day of rugby designed to appropriately challenge their ability and develop their confidence.
To find out more about Wooden Spoon visit www.woodenspoon.org.uk where you can also become regular donor and member for less than a pound a week (on joining make sure you mention you are a RARC member).
Matt Mitchell – Rugby Development Manager WS
Hello folks. I’m Kyle! I’d like to share with you some of my favourite coaching tips. These are purely my own tried and tested but of course the same shoe does not always fit the other’s foot! Have a short read, try it out and please give us your feedback – if it’s critical or you just like my honesty, that ‘s cool!!
Defense: Keep the flat line until 5m out from own line, then press defense as a team. Put the pressure on the attack, force them into errors.
Being clinical: Tag players need to convert more of their chances and score more points, gather momentum and keep it up!
Playing the 6 tags/tackles: Don’t be scared to get tagged, back your abilities and if we use the 6 can help gain momentum!
Kyle Graham – RARC Club Player / Member
On Saturday 28th October, the Royal Arsenal Tag Rugby Club hosted their second annual ‘5K on the RA’ Fun Run.
It was all about Zombies to tie in with the spirit of Halloween. Runners came together to test their skills in chilly conditions and show off their fancy-dress outfits on the established 5k course around the Royal Arsenal. Like with any race, it is all about participation and individual efforts, however we would like to mention our top male and female runners. This year joint 1st was shared by Dan Hudson and Christian Ayerst coming in at an impressive 20 mins 25 secs and Mikka Hojholt was the fastest female with her little companion, completing the course in 23 mins 37 secs.
After the run, everyone came together for a celebration of their achievements and to award the best fancy dress. Steve Barringer was unanimously voted as best and scariest fancy dress outfit.
We like to support our charity partners with everything we do. Our recent fundraising campaigns have been going exceptionally well and we hope to be handing a cheque to Wooden Spoon for over 1900 pounds.
As usual, this event would not be possible without our wonderful volunteers. Not only they made sure that everyone stayed on track, they also gave participants “the run for their money”!
By Lina šlekytė
The TAGs are difficult to grab hold of. Defenders have to get close to the ball carrier using good footwork skills and then get low to reach the TAG.
The game improves the basics of defensive organisation, since defenders have to keep a straight line and communicate with each other as they move forward.
The faster the ball carrier is moving, the harder the TAGs are to grab. Once players discover this, they will happily run forward and attack space in the defence.
TAG is excellent at developing agility and speed. The footwork used by attacking players to avoid being “tagged” develops quickly as they soon appreciate that a moving target is much harder to tackle.
As the attackers’ agility develops, so will the defenders’ as they have to keep up.
To succeed at TAG rugby, players need to attack space and not to run directly at the defenders. This reinforces the most important principle of attacking play – go forward.
The game naturally promotes going forward, whether attacking or defending. Ball carriers are encouraged to run at space. Because it is difficult to grab the TAGs there is a high success rate for ball carriers making clean breaks.
Support play is vital in TAG rugby as the ball carrier only has three seconds to pass the ball after being “tagged”. Support players must be close to the ball carrier when the TAG is made to provide effective support.
Passing is as important in TAG rugby as in any other form of the game. TAG gives you the opportunity to observe players passing under pressure but without them worrying about getting tackled.
By playing games on different-sized pitches, you can vary the level of pressure on the players and the different passes they have to use.
Thank you to Brian our regular contributor to the Royal Arsenal Tag Rugby Newsletter
The 2nd Annual RA Tag Rugby Summer Party was held on Saturday 19th of August. This did not start like your average Cocktail Soirée, no, this was a tropospheric affair! Don’t get me wrong, most attendees arrived on foot or by taxi, but one man arrived by plane. Parachuting into Wellington Park was Hans, a spectacle for all to see!
The venue was the Guard House and the provisions did not disappoint: greeted by a String Quintet and an array of tasty Supercars for the Instagram generation to selfie by, you crossed the threshold with a glass of bubbly in hand.
The gastronomical were catered for with delectable canapés in course order; The frivolous could gamble to their hearts desire (without impending debt) on Blackjack and Roulette; And the home grown band appealed to all!
The night finished off announcing the winners of our silent auction, and many went home pleased with the absolute bargains made.
Ultimately a big thank you and well done goes out to the event planners, without them all, the evening wouldn’t have been such a success. Roll on party number 3 – 2018!
By Jason Millar
MORE PHOTOS FROM THE EVENING HERE CLICK
Well it is and it isn’t.
All I want is for ‘good’ rugby to be played, everyone enjoys it and no one gets hurt. If that happens and nobody notices I’m there bingo!
Easy? 80% of the time, yes. Those are your ‘regular’ decisions. You have good view and are sure what went on by whom, where and how.
It’s the other 20% that make the difference. Your view is blocked. You’ve followed the ball and there has been an almighty collision off it, there’s been contact but enough to stop the play?
Average game you make between 250-300 calls/decisions. So 45-55 times you make, more or less instantly, a tough decision. You are not going to get them all correct.
So here’s the secret…Do Your Best. Not earth shattering I know, but it works for me.
Be honest with the players, and yourself and call what you see. If you get questioned reply with honesty and reflect on what is said. Just because you have the whistle doesn’t make you infallible. I know I’ve made some howlers in my time!
So accepting that true proficiency takes 10,000 hours I consider myself to be in training for the next 14,785 games. Along the way I hope to enjoy the company of great people, be bought the odd beer and to enjoy the game. Lets face it I could be at home watching EastEnders!
By Paul Cunningham – Tag Rugby Referee