Posted on

Wine quiz, wine tasting and ploughman’s supper



Wine quiz, wine tasting and ploughman’s supper at the Old Pats Club House Everest Road at 7PM Friday March 27 2020

Subsidised by Old Pats sponsor Irongate Wealth Management the evening includes:

  • Fizz on arrival
  • Call my bluff wine quiz with Old Pats sponsor Vinotopia of Tetbury
  • Tasting of 3 white wines and 3 red wines with Vinotopia
  • A hearty ploughman’s supper provided by Tall Order Catering

The event presents a fantastic opportunity to support your club whilst enjoying a fantastic fun-filled evening with friends. Tickets are available on a first come first served basis so to avoid disappointment please don’t leave it too late.

The evening would not be possible without the enthusiasm and generous support from our club sponsors Vinotopia Wines of Tetbury and Irongate Wealth Management of Cirencester.

The subsidised cost of the ticket is only £15

To book your ticket CLICK HERE to visit our online shop.

Vinatopia Special Offer
Irongate Wealth Management 800 x 500
Posted on

U9’s show off new junior shirts in their first match

The Old Pats U9s competed in their first matches on Sunday against Stroud U9S and Longlevens U9s. Before the matches commenced each boy was presented individually with his new Old Pats Shirt in front of a huge contingency of parents who had come to support them during the morning. 35 shirts were presented to the boys which shows a real healthy number which will hopefully continue to grow over the coming weeks. A very proud moment not just for the boys but also the coaches and parents.

Our u9s were split into 3 equal ability squads and played 6 short matches each against 2 sides who have been playing contact rugby much longer then our squads. Our boys more then matched our more experienced opposition and showed off all the skills they have learnt over the last couple of months. Some brilliant tries and fantastic teamwork were displayed along with some fierce but fair tackles and every single boy put 100% into their games throughout the morning. A big thanks must go to both Stroud and Longlevens for their participation and for their comments regarding the organisation and commitment of our boys. We look forward to seeing them later in the season.

The morning was rounded off with Hotdogs and squash for all players and coaches and we march on to our next match against Banbury on the 19th January

Posted on Leave a comment

2019 Christmas Club Sunday Wet, Muddy and Great Fun


This weekend saw the last training session before Christmas which, in keeping with tradition, took place at Everest Road for all age groups from U9 to U15’s. All the teams were well represented with a total of over 250 children involved.

The range in age and size meant that some creative thinking from the coaches was required to supply skill stations suitable for all. Happily, our experienced operators did not disappoint and four non-contact activities were designed to develop specific skills from agility to communication and fitness.

With the weather Gods not smiling on us and the cold rain lashing down, the coaches showed all their motivational skills to keep the players warm and having fun. When the sun finally came out, we had turned the lower field into a hippo’s playground and a few washing machines were going to get a workout. However, the junior section had trained together as a united group and were further bonded by Matt Dawson – head coach of the U12’s, veteran Old Pat and hugely experienced teacher who, after some inspirational words, led a soggy but enthusiastic huddle.


The players were whisked away at the end to warm baths and the coaches of all age groups made use of the catering facilities where many ideas were exchanged whilst we dried out.

With so many juniors spread out around Cheltenham on our match days, the Club Sunday is a rare and important chance for the players to feel part of a larger whole and those involved in the running of the junior section to meet, mingle and share our experience.

A very big thank you to Andrea Mason (U10 and U14 mum) and colleagues for organising such an important event in the Club calendar and for manning the Club Mug stall. (Don’t forget to buy an Old Pats mug for Christmas from HERE)

Matches resume in early January but for now, have a very merry Christmas

Tom Perris

Tom Perris U14 Coach

Posted on Leave a comment

The 2019-20 junior welcome newsletter


The 2019-20 Welcome Newsletter is Here!

After several months in the making – with contributions from all age group team managers and many others – we’ve finally ‘gone to press’ or rather ‘gone digital’ with our 2019-20 Newsletter.

No longer do you have to view or download a PDF version, it’s now online in our magazine website (to view see link below)

The 2019-20 edition includes welcome messages from the Chairman and team managers, as well as the latest news and events and key info including nutrition for sport.

Special Offers

We have also some great deals for you including:

  • a fantastic Old Pats Wine Club offer from club sponsors, Vinotopia of Tetbury;
  • FREE entry to an ‘exclusive, invite-only, shopping experience’ at John Lewis in Cheltenham which includes arrival drinks and canapes, and events throughout the evening;
  • and, by popular demand, as well as Old Pats bobble hats we now sell Old Pats mugs that come boxed, so are easy to wrap and will make perfect the Christmas present

I would like to add a special thanks to Elaine Warwicker and Laurence Hale who have worked patiently and tirelessly to piece together this fantastic Newsletter. This would not happen without their hard work.

On behalf of all the officials at Old Pats, we hope you have a fun-filled run up to Christmas, and a very happy Christmas and New Year!

Click here to view 2019-20 Newsletter

Alistair Armstrong

Juniors Chairman

Posted on


Rob Fidler and Dan Eddie Old Pats Colts

Welcome from the Colts

The Old Pats Colts is a vital stage of player development, which continues to develop the boys who move up from the U16s, moving them towards senior rugby.

All players, irrespective of ability, are welcome and will be involved in training and matches.

The quality of our continued player development is highlighted by the fact that during the 2018/19 season we had three Colts selected for the County squad and one player selected for the South West Regional Squad. We also had two players make their first team debuts. This season we have seen four of last years Colts play for the first team, which is a great achievement for the club.

We have already started to work with this season’s U16’s to prepare the ground for their move into the 202 Colts, and look forward to welcoming them.

Last season

Last season, the Colts played in the GRFU U18 Development League (North), finishing a creditable second place, as well as having several friendly fixtures against local clubs.

We had three Colts selected for the County squad and one player selected for the South West Regional Squad. We also had two players make their First Team debuts.

This is all a testament to the quality of our continued player development.

This season

We have already seen four of last year’s Colts play for the First Team, which is a great achievement for the club.

Under the supervision of Rob Fidler (Head Coach), the boys have a mid-week training skills session alongside the First Team, which provides them with exposure to the senior players and broadens their experience. Contact training is only within their own Colts age group.

And, we have already started to work with this season’s U16s to prepare the ground for their move into the Colts.

Posted on

U15 Welcome

2019-20 U15 Coaches

Welcome from Dave Parry and Matt Jordan

Last Season

Big thanks to the coaching team for another successful season.  Last season, we reduced to one squad as numbers were dropping, and it was becoming harder to put two teams out each week.  

We played a lot of competitive rugby throughout the season playing 25 fixtures. Our year-end tour was the Tigers Challenge at Minehead, and our boys fought off some stiff competition over the two days to win the Tournament. 

We have continued to see the boys develop well with their rugby, spending  time focused  on the separate roles between backs and forwards, strong rucking and turnover at the breakdown along with handling skills and moving the ball.  

As one of our referees,  I can say with absolute certainty, that we have seen the pace the boys are able to play at increase significantly this year, making for some genuinely exciting rugby across the age group.   

This Season

We will once again be playing at Bournside this season, meeting on Sundays at 9.30am with a finish between 11 and 11.30am.

We have around 26 boys signed up for the 2019/20 season and have some quality games against quality clubs set up. We don’t believe there is merit in pursuing easy games against weak opposition.

As we move to U15s we see the addition of the final discipline adding to the game: lifting in the line out. Still uncontested.

Posted on

U14 Welcome

Alistair Armstrong Old Patesians RFC Junior Chairman

Welcome from Team Manager Alistair Armstrong 

Last Season

Last season was a great success – we had 60 registered players who formed three mixed-ability playing squads. We had a total of ten coaches running the squads guided by our Head Coach, David Jones.

During the 2018/19 season we played 44 fixtures against local opposition. All our boys, who were available, played in the matches. We also piloted the RFU’s Half a Game rule, however as we always adopt an inclusive approach to the game this had little effect on our structures. The Half a Game rule will be compulsory for all Juniors this season.

Throughout the season the boys continued to develop an expansive, fast and dynamic approach to the game and enjoyed the introduction of contested scrums adding a number 8 to the pack.

We always benefit from enthusiastic support from our parents and others who watch our matches. This support is fair and respects all the players on the pitch, praising good play irrespective of which side has achieved this. We really appreciate all the support we receive.

We finished the season with our best tour to date. The boys departed our HQ and headed to a massive outdoor paintball park in Chobham. We then headed off to stay at another HQ, the Marriot Hotel at Twickenham stadium. That evening we had our traditional tour dinner at London Welsh RFC, surrounded by the history of that great club and past players.

The following day we were hosted by Richmond RFC and played a tournament against local clubs, including Richmond, Harlequins and a couple more. We mixed all the boys from their normal squads into two totally different squads for the tour matches. We had a great morning with both squads finishing undefeated. This tournament also saw the debut of the junior’s new Gazebo! It was a tour to remember, and our thanks goes to the Tour Committee for their efforts, especially Laurence Hale.

This Season

This season, the boys finally start to play the full 15 player game. The RFU’s method of slowly building over the years towards this makes sense and works as we now have a group of players ready for the full 15 a side game. However, to support 15 players on the pitch plus replacements and to cover player welfare we have reduced our squads to two mixed-ability groups, consisting of approximately 26 players per squad.  

Given the demands of other sports on the players we are more than confident that all available players will be involved in our matches. We have also changed the coaching set-up to reflect the reduction in squads. 

To achieve the 15 players per side we have now added flankers to the pack to complete all the positions of the adult game. This season there are a few new aspects to our games. The number 8 can pick from the base of the scrum, we gain field position from penalty kicks and we add conversions following tries. 

We have a full fixture list balanced with sufficient training time. We are very conscious of boys involved in other sports particularly school rugby on a Saturday. Player welfare will be paramount in any decisions that we make with regards to their activity in contact rugby for the club.  

All the coaches are looking forward to the new season ahead and we are sure that we will match and exceed the successes of previous seasons. 

Posted on

U13 Welcome

Head Coach Chris Woodward

Welcome from Head Coach Chris Woodward

Last Season

Our U12 season was, by all measures, a huge success. The boys won more games than they lost and played with the skill, spirit and teamwork that each and every one of them should be proud of.

As coaches, we were pleased to see the strength across the squads, with every player demonstrating significant development in their skills and approach. There are no weak links in either of our squads, which is a reflection of the inclusive attitude of the boys and their support for each other.

The season finished well with an excellent tournament performance at Berry Hill. We arrived with a big enough squad to split into two teams, and both teams only lost one game finishing second in their respective leagues.

Our tour was a highlight of the season. The facilities at Secret Valley Glamping provided an excellent base for our end of season festivities. The superbly run rafting, archery and ropes courses enabled the boys to demonstrate their teamwork and communication skills and some parents (Dan!) to exercise their competitive energy. The Rugby at Cheddar Festival was competitive, and a great way to show how far the boys had come with their rugby during the year.

This Season

Training will be based at Reeves Field starting at 10am. We continue to run two equal squads this year with a mix of training and competitive matches.

Whilst we know opposition teams are streaming their sides, both of our squads are competitive against anyone we might come across. This approach is key to our belief in the potential of every player and the ethos of Old Pats Junior Rugby. It is also pleasing that the RFU have now mandated 50% game time, which is something that we have been implementing for a few seasons, with the belief that the boys will learn most by playing the game.

This year marks a real step forward with the introduction of an extra player at number 8, contested scrummaging and kicking of the loose ball. The boys will need to build on all the skills developed in the past few years to continue the excellent progress the squad has made.

This season we’ll be focusing on game management and structure (to equip the boys with skills, options and insight to be able to respond to the game as it happens, and to be able to adjust and communicate with each other), as well as team play and role expectations.

Now we are 13 aside, player positions become more structured. This does not mean that individual players will be given specific positions, but that they understand the roles and responsibilities of each of the position that they might play.

Chris and Andy will be working with individuals to encourage them to explore their approach and develop the skills for different roles and situations. We will also begin to utilise more of the wider club support for specific skills such as scrummaging.

As a coaching team we are really excited to support the boys through the coming season. With the support of each parent, and the effort and commitment of the boys, we will have lots of success.

Posted on

U12 Welcome

Matt Dawson

Welcome from Head Coach Matt Dawson


Our U12s are currently operating at capacity with 54 boys from numerous schools spread over three mixed-ability squads.

The last two years have seen us tour to Devon as U10s and Bournemouth as U11s. We are looking into touring Minehead this year and entering the Leicester Tigers Tournament.

We have also had the opportunity to play a fixture on a 4G pitch under floodlights on a Friday night, and have had Ollie Thorley and Tom Savage come to coach and watch the boys play in fixtures.

From our 11 volunteers we have 7 Level 2 coaches as well as an RFU qualified referee! Sally and Gemma are our team managers and keep us on the straight and narrow. We pride ourselves on our fun but professional approach to the game where focus is on improving the boys’ technique.

The boys are coached to make their teammates look good and we pride ourselves on our passing game. We understand that players develop at different stages of their careers and every single player under our guidance will be allowed to enjoy the game at their level.

This Season

This season we will train between 9.30am and 11:30am on Sundays at Reeves Field. The slightly earlier start allows greater flexibility for boys who have other sport on a Sunday afternoon.

There will be a focus on attendance this season and boys who miss training will not be permitted to play until we are satisfied that their attitude to training merits game time.

Fixtures will be 25 minutes each way and each boy will have at least half a game. Tournaments allow for a maximum of 70 minutes playing time. It is our intention to field all three squads at the County Tournament this year. The Land Rover Cup will see us field one side in conjunction with every other side that enters.

The rules this year are:

  • 12 aside rugby with five forwards and seven backs
  • Pitch size 60 x 43m
  • There is no pushing in the scrum, but there is a contested strike
  • Unlimited players can ruck and maul
  • Hand offs are permitted beneath armpit level
  • The scrum half has to pass from a scrum, but can break from a ruck / maul

We have also put on numerous socials for the boys over the years including trips to Kingsholm; bowling; a fun swim session on the inflatables at Cheltenham College. Options this year include laser-tag and tubing at Matson Ski Centre.

I came to Cheltenham in 1998 and joining the Old Patesians allowed me to make friendships that will last me a lifetime. It is so lovely to see the Youth Section at The Pats continuing such a positive ethos with their mantra of inclusivity.

Allez les Pats!

Posted on

U11 Welcome


Welcome from Team Manager Neil Hamilton 

Last Season

Last season saw a vast improvement across our squad; a real ‘coming of age’ moment for the players, parents and coaches alike.

The season included our first tour to Croyde in Devon which was an enormous success concluding with a great morning of rugby at Ilfracombe RFC.

Other key moments of the season included our first County Cup and Droitwich Festival where the teams played great rugby and won all but one game. We felt a real sense of togetherness as the boys cheered and supported each other on; with some stepping in to play for the other teams in our squads due to injuries. All with the great support of our ever-committed parents.

Being part of the wider Old Pats Club was also strongly felt when the boys got chance to carry out ball boy duties for the first team league matches at the Prince of Wales stadium. And on our training and match visit to Hartpury.


This Season

Our base for training this season will again be at The Park campus from 10am to 11.30am every Sunday.

We will continue to adopt the ‘half a game’ rule. This is now mandatory for all clubs, but has always been core to our ethos, and ensures all players get equal opportunity.

During the summer, the coaching team have attended RFU training courses which will bring a slight change in our training, with the introduction of play zones and skill zones. We will have the same number of coaches this season – and they remain focused on improvement, development and enjoyment.

Old Pats core ethos is to encourage children to develop as rugby and team players throughout their time with us with the objective that they maintain their participation in the sport once they become an adult. Success is measured by the number of children who continue to play in adulthood irrespective of the club or the standard they play at. Playing success and trophies are a by-product of this objective not the objective itself.

New rule additions this year include:

  • a maximum of 9-a-side
  • a maximum pitch size of 60 meters x 43 meters
  • ball size: 4
  • 20 minutes (max) each half
  • 70 minutes (max) per day
  • 3 player scrum – strike no push
  • Ruck / Maul – 2 support players per team
  • Kicking – no fly hack

We are also hoping to plan in a tour around Easter, as well as some other events like BBQs, and going to watch Gloucester at Kingsholm.

The Coaches

Under 11’s shall have the same number of coaches for next season. Our coaches volunteer their time and effort into the role and this involves more than the hour and a half on a Sunday morning. Coaches shall all be attending RFU training courses to ensure we improve and more importantly the boys enjoy and develop throughout the season.

Team Manager/Coach: Neil Hamilton
Head Coach: Richard Brock
Coach: John Boyes
Coach: Fraser Borthwick
Coach; Stephen Manton
Coach: Nick Lewis
Coach: Gareth Parry
Coach: Roger Morton
Coach: Francois Lauriault
Coach: Paul Aberthery
Coach: Alex Taylor
Coach: Chris (Benny) Hill

Thank you

Special thank you to all the coaches, boys, parents that make this possible. Wthout that commitment during the week and on a Sunday morning none of this would happen.

We are all looking forward to the new season, let’s just hope we have less snow!

Please ensure all communication is via Neil Hamilton our Team Manager

Posted on

U10 Welcome

2019-20 U10 Head Coach

Welcome from Head Coach Ross Freebury

Last Season

Our U9s are the first step into Old Pats Juniors, so it was a really exciting time for us to come together – not just for the players, but for our parent volunteers too.

We had over 30 boys, from a range of schools, come together into three mixed ability squads. Some were starting rugby for the very first time, and some were moving from tag to contact rugby.

We achieved our main aims: to get to know the boys as individuals, to get them all to understand the basics of rugby; and, for them to have a great time doing it.

We slowly introduced the players to matches against other clubs – both home and away. And our regular Sunday training enabled a degree of reflection and continued learning.

We’re proud to have seen some great relationships develop between the boys. We had great feedback on how we run things, how we manage the games and on our approach. And, we saw all the groups play some very impressive rugby. This is testament to all involved.


This Season

Our group has continued to grow, as we welcomed a number of new boys over the summer.

We train on Park Campus on Sundays from 10 to 11.30am, where we focus heavily on game-based training. It is the best learning environment and it’s what the boys enjoy best. We will be developing the boys from a technical/tactical perspective, as they mature both mentally and physically. And, we will be continuing to ensure our sessions are fun, energetic and inclusive.

In line with the RFU’s approach, there are a number of new things we are introducing this season, including uncontested scrum, maul and ruck.

Some key elements of the U10s Rules of Play are:

  • a maximum of 8-a-side
  • ball size 4
  • maximum of 15 minutes each half
  • maximum pitch size of 60m x 35m
  • nearest 3 players in a scrum (all players trained, late specialisation)
  • contest for the ball (1 player v 1 player)

We are continuing with our three mixed-ability squad approach, with equal game time for all. This is engrained into how we do things.

With many fixtures already scheduled from October onwards, we hope to build on the relationships we have begun with the local clubs, whilst establishing new ones as we look to travel further afield.

We have our first tour organised for April to Croyde, which is quickly becoming the traditional tour destination for our U10s.

Our volunteer team 

Finally, a thank you to all the volunteer parents who give up their time each week:  

  • Our team managers – Andrea and Sophie – for being so diligent and organised.  
  • Our coaching group – Rob M, Luke, Ben, John and Rob B – for being so keen and committed.  

We will be incorporating more coaching education this season to improve competence and confidence which will benefit everyone.  

Here’s to a great 2019/20 U10s season. 

Posted on

U9 Welcome

James Speller 2019-20 U9

On 24th November we began our journey at St Edwards Prep School as the new Old Pats U9s. With 30+ children signed up, and new ones joining us each week, we are looking forward to a fun and exciting season.

Our Head Coach Richard Simpson, and the rest of our coaching team, have spent the past few weeks introducing the children to contact rugby and teaching them the basics in safe tackling. We have also run sessions improving skills such as side stepping, passing, presenting the ball in contact and awareness of space and support play. These skills will help prepare the children for our matches that start in January. We have some exciting fixtures lined up against other teams, which the children and coaching team are looking forward to.

Over the next couple of weeks, we will be splitting the squad into three teams. These teams will be of mixed ability and will be in preparation for our matches and future training sessions. All teams will be given equal opportunity to play in the matches and we will follow the RFU’s ‘half a game’ guidelines, whilst ensuring all children are given the support and opportunity to try and reach their potential.

Our coaches have been booking themselves onto various RFU courses aimed at improving training techniques and safety awareness. The whole team have been DBS checked and we have 3 first aiders in our ranks so parents have peace of mind that the children are safe every Sunday.

We train at 9.30am on a Sunday morning at St Edwards Prep School. And, our aim throughout the whole season is that the children are having fun, learning new skills while making new friends. We have some fantastic training sessions planned and some really fun games in the new year to look forward to. The feedback we have had from parents has been really positive, the support from everyone has been great and I’m sure we will all enjoy the season ahead.

Posted on

Safeguarding Update

Safeguarding with Nick Lewis
Code of Rugby

Safeguarding is a proactive concept based around promoting the child’s welfare in every way. It means protecting children and young people from abuse and neglect but stretches much further to include all that we can do to ensure their appropriate development and to maximise life opportunities. Put simply, safeguarding is about all the things we do to create child centred rugby and to prevent problems arising.

The 2019/20 season sees the Old Pats Safeguarding team of Club Safeguarding Officer, Nick Lewis, ably assisted by Safeguarding Officers, Paula Phillips and Amanda Hazeldine continue to support the Club. It’s important to note that Nick, Paula and Amanda have been in role for a number of years, therefore are experienced, consistent and committed to the highest standards of Safeguarding.

Please contact one of the CSO team for further information or if you have any questions or concerns that you would like to discuss.


Injury prevention and post injury management is one specific subject we will continue to focus on along with concussion at the top of the list.

All coaches are required to complete the RFU’s online “Headcase” course but we continue to improve communication between Coaches, Parents and Schools. It is vitally important that Parents inform their respective Team Manager or Head Coach if their Child has had a head knock in the week leading up to Sunday training / playing.

More information and resources can be found here:

In the event of an injury occurring during an Old Pats training session or match, Team Managers will make contact with parents to inform them of that injury.  We will require updates from parents with regard to the players recovery and of informing their child’s school or any other sports clubs that they are involved in of any injuries or concerns that affect the players ability to partake in sport.

Likewise we expect to be informed of any injuries that will affect the player when attending Old Pats sessions especially if they have had any suspected concussion or head knocks in the week leading up to playing and training.

Please do not push your child in to returning too early following injury but discuss the return to play with the Coaches. We will, where necessary, assess a player on their return and take any appropriate action we see fit.

Rugby union is a powerful and positive influence where enjoyment goes hand in hand with achievement. The RFU and Old Patesians RFC believe that for the game to thrive we must look after the children who play rugby as they are the future of this fantastic sport. We all want the rugby environment to be a safe and happy one and as such their welfare and wellbeing is fundamental. And it’s our intention that everyone that a child comes into contact with can act as a positive role model.

Under our care, we work hard to impart these values, so that as a child develops skills such as confidence, commitment and concern for others, they are well positioned to become leaders for the future.

To achieve this, it’s essential that we provide them with a positive experience and give them the opportunity to achieve their true potential. We have a duty and commitment at Old Pats to ensure that Safeguarding of all within our care is a priority and that each child’s rugby experience is the very best that it can be.

Dont be a headcase
Dont be a headcase


The Disclosure & Barring Service which the RFU utilises to operate and manage a criminal record checking process for those working with children or vulnerable adults. The DBS runs checks at three different levels providing information on an individual’s criminal records.

Old Pats Safeguarding team, working with the RFU manages the DBS checking process independently from the Club and our policy is to ensure all coaches have up to date DBS Certificates. In addition to the DBS application process we also ensure that coaches attend relevant courses from Play it Safe to First Aid to Referee to enhancing coaching qualifications and capability.

The RFU Safeguarding Policy Guidance & Procedures

The RFU Safeguarding Policy Guidance & Procedures is fully endorsed and forms the very foundations of the way we operate as a Club and as individuals.

This Policy statement is based on the following key principles:

  • The welfare of the child is paramount
  • All participants regardless of age, gender, ability or disability, race, faith, size, language or sexual identity, have the right to protection from harm
  • All allegations, suspicions of harm and concerns will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly, fairly and appropriately
  • Everyone will work in partnership to promote the welfare, health and development of children

In cases of possible abuse of any kind we act swiftly, working in partnership with police, social services and the RFU Safeguarding teams to protect an individual or individuals from harm. We have robust safeguarding procedures to manage these situations with confidence and efficiency.

This Policy and the following Guidance and Procedures are based on the principle of empowering children and young people. The onus is on everyone who has contact with children and young people to protect them from harm as well as to create a positive environment in which to participate. Based on best practice, the Policy provides information about abuse in various forms, advice on identifying problems, as well as policies and procedures for use by those involved in delivering rugby union.

The RFU provides support for clubs, assisting them in making safer recruitment decisions for those involved with young people, systems for dealing with allegations or concerns and training programs for all working with young players, as well as effective systems for working with other relevant agencies. Old Pats very much appreciates the army of volunteers who give up their time to organise mini and youth rugby and strive to provide the highest standards of care for children in a safe and enjoyable environment however the volunteers need to be aware of their responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and how they should respond to child protection concerns by working with the Safeguarding Officers.

You can find the RFU Safeguarding Policy and guidance by clicking HERE

Club Policies

The various Club Policy’s continue to be reviewed and updated and the Safeguarding Team work with Club Officials to create, update, implement and adhere to the Policy’s which cover, but not limited to, Social Media, Tour, Codes of Conduct for Players, Parents and Coaches together with updating expectations for pitch side behavior and respect of officials, opposition parents, players and coaches alike.

Please contact one of the CSO team for further information or if you have any questions or concerns that you would like to discuss.

Old Patesians RFC Safeguarding Officers

Club Safeguarding Officer (CSO)
Nick Lewis
Mobile: 07717 454 069

Assistant Club Safeguarding Officer
Amanda Hazeldine
Mobile: 07748 640 625

Assistant Club Safeguarding Officer
Paula Phillips
Mobile: 07487 697 411

Posted on

An Evening with Johan Ackermann

Evening with Johan Ackermann 2019

Back in September, the Old Pats Business Club hosted their fourth ‘Evening with…’ event.

This time, we invited the legendary ex-Springbok, and Gloucester head coach, Johan Ackermann to answer questions about his career highlights and coaching Gloucester.

Nigel Church, Managing Director of First Solution – one of Old Pats main sponsors – was our host for the evening.

The event was held on home turf at the Old Pats club house in Everest Road, with a sumptuous buffet provided by the Old Pats’ favourite caterer – Tall Order Catering.

Club sponsor, Vinotopia Wines of Tetbury, started the evening with a South African-themed wine tasting and the official launch of their Old Pats’ Wine Club special offer.

The event was well attended by members of the business club, club players, parents and sponsors. Our audience questioned Johan on his time as a Springbok, Lions Coach, joining Gloucester, his predictions for Gloucester in the Premiership and for England in the World Cup.

Our favourite Johan anecdote of the evening was his recollection of seeing an elderly supporter standing on his own in the Shed prior to a Northampton game. Johan crossed the pitch to say hello and discovered that he was not only a long-term Glaws fan, but was also very knowledgeable. So, he invited him back to the changing room to address the team before the game, and Gloucester won convincingly!

Thank you to everyone who came along – the Business Club plays a key role in raising sponsorship for the club, and their fundraising events are always well attended.

Another ‘Evening with…’ event is planned for the new year, so watch this space!

Posted on

Summer Ball 2019

Old Pats 2019 Summer Ball

Our fourth Summer Ball at the unrivalled Princess Hall at Cheltenham Ladies College was our most attended to date and raised a record amount for the club through ticket sales, heads and tales, and the silent auction.

It was Junior Chairman Alistair Armstrong’s first year at the helm taking over from the hugely energetic Matt Cape now Club Chairman who did a fantastic job drumming up support and selling many tickets.

Organising the Junior Ball is no mean feat! The level of planning that goes into ensuring the night goes off with a bang rather than a whimper, is extensive and takes a team of volunteers months to organise the venue, food, entertainment and promotion.

This year was our best ever: attracting 189 guests; raised a record for the club; and received more ‘thank you’ emails than ever.

To help us achieve this we added a cocktail bar to the garden; brought back the bucking bronco (rugby ball); U14’s parent Rachel Cappuccini returned as director of food (please read here nutrition article (link) in this newsletter); local band Master Plan was invited back having played at our first ball, and U12 parent Gemma Fletcher used her substantial event management experience to ensure all ran as smoothly as possible.

Although the giant Jenga was not so giant reminding many of the ‘Stonehenge’ scene in Spinal Tap, the weather stayed dry and warm allowing everyone to fully enjoy the beautiful gardens before and after the meal.

We’d also like to thank our attentive and enthusiastic waiting staff who did a fantastic job of serving everyone quickly and efficiently with zero mishaps!

The Old Pats Ball at the Princess Elizabeth Hall, Cheltenham Ladies College has become the event of the year in the Old Pats’ Junior calendar, not only does it to a great job unifying the age groups including the seniors, it raises much-needed funds to enable over 340 juniors to benefit from the sporting, physical and social benefits of rugby and of course simply being an Old Pat

We’ll be announcing plans for next year’s ball in the new year, in the meantime if you have any ideas for 2020 do please let us know via the contact page (link) on this website.

Posted on

Pre 2019-20 season update

Old Pats RFC Club House

Almost a month in, here’s how it has gone

By Connor Thompson – Club Captain

With pre-season almost a month in, we asked 1st XV Captain George Angell and Head Coach Chris Downes on their thoughts so far.

George Angell

Reflection on the first 3/4 weeks of pre-season?

Tough. Been great to have ball in hand so much. With a clear aim on improving catch/pass and decision making under fatigue, the sessions have seen good improvements across all players skill sets. The fitness blocks have certainly ensured we are under fatigue too!

Best bits of training?

Conditioned games. It’s a long old season and being able to get the ball in hand with a free pass to express ourselves can be frustrating but when it goes right is so enjoyable.

Lots of Colts joining in – how have they settled in?

Colts have driven standards in a lot of ways. Some of their skill sets have put ours to shame at times! On the other hand they are new to the adult way of rugby and it pushes a lot of senior players to work with those younger boys. It builds a great atmosphere across the teams and age groups. There will definitely be some of those younger lads wearing a 1st XV Jersey in the near future.

How do you feel Chris and Ben have started?

Downesy is no stranger to the club and although he is hugely invested in UOG rugby there’s a real sense that Pats is home for him. Smithy has shown why his full time job is in rugby – attention to detail in the basics of rugby are something a lot of adult players aren’t interested in but he really drives them home. The pair work well together – opposites clearly attract in this case. The boys are really invested in what is being delivered week on week and you cannot fault the passion they show for the cause! Of course Safy being around for the time being is another great asset to the coaching team.

Aim for the next 3/4 weeks?

Personally I think the aim is to incorporate more structure and nail the set piece whilst improving catch/pass even more. With 3 tough pre season games everyone needs to know their role and the next few weeks will be a key time to implement this. The coaches have a clear way which they want us to play and if we can get it right I think we will be one of those teams who looks dangerous every time they touch the ball. I hate playing those sides so it would be great to be one!

Chris Downes

First impressions of The start of pre-season?

Really enjoyable, the guys have worked hard and there have been plenty of smiles so first impressions have been really positive! Happy players are much more open to new ways of doing things and thinking, that makes it a lot easier for us as coaches!

Reflection on the first 3/4 weeks of pre-season?

That we’ve got some really talented players! The core skills are improving already and we can also see real improvements in game awareness and understanding which is great. The boys have taken well to our new coaching team and have made it really welcoming too.

Best bits of training?

The first postcode training up on top of Leckhampton Hill was excellent. The boys worked well in teams to solve puzzles and riddles under fatigue and it was nice to surprise them with a BBQ when they got back to the bottom!

Lots of Colts joining in – how have they settled in?

It’s been great to have the younger guys in and around the senior squad. It’s good for their development and it also keeps the older guys on their toes! It’s important that we create a culture that these guys want to come back to the club when they move away to uni etc and pre-season is a great time to do that.

Aim for the next 3/4 weeks?

Aim is to keep improving the keys skills and game sense. We will naturally start to look at the key components of how we’ll play. We could have the best game plan in the world but if our basics aren’t good enough then it’s irrelevant! We’ve got a couple of decent postcode training sessions up our sleeves too which will be fun!

Posted on

End of 2018-19 season awards

End of 2019-19 Awards

So who won what awards

By Connor Thompson – Club Captain

The End of Season Awards took place on Friday 17th May and gave chance to celebrate individuals for their performances throughout the season.

Here is who won what

Players’ Player – George Angell
1st XV Player of the Year – George Angell
2nd XV Player of the Year – James Malvern-White
Gents’ Player of the Year – Pete Woodall
Most Improved Player of the Year – Joe Hart
Young Player of the Year – Tom Knight 
Top Try Scorer – Rich Hance
Ron Johnson Award (For the most memorable moment in the season) – James Aherne (For his 55m penalty against Camborne)
1st XV Colours – Bryce White and Rich Hance
Clubman of the Year – Norman Bell

Well done to all the winners!

Posted on

Two new coaches for Old Pats

Chris Downes and Ben Smith

Chris Downes will be taking up the Head Coach’s role and Ben Smith will join as Senior Coach next season.

Downes, the former Pats and Ebbw Vale man, capped for England Schoolboys, has long been Director of Rugby at the University of Gloucestershire and the County. He will retain both roles. Smith, the RFU’s Community Rugby Coach (CRC) for Gloucestershire, has worked with Downes at the University and the pair offer an established, successful coaching partnership.

Downes said: “It’s great to be back at the Pats, I’ve loved this club since I began playing here as a boy, had my happiest memories in the magenta, blue and white and I finished my playing career at the bottom of the slope at Everest Road. To be appointed Head Coach is an honour for me and I hope I can bring the success I know the club deserves.”

Old Pats are currently bottom of the South West Premier League having had as many as 29 of their registered playing squad unavailable for selection at times since Christmas. Survival is still possible with five matches remaining and the current coaches will continue for all of them.

Smith added: “Pats have always been one of the leading clubs in the county and the brand of rugby they play is great. The injured players are now coming back to fitness and with a good summer ahead of us, things look good for the 2019-20 campaign.

Matt Cape, OPRFC Chair, said “We’re delighted to have secured these two talented young coaches for the Pats. They’ve worked together to great success at the University and they’re very well established figures at county level and beyond. It’s also really nice that a lad, who played for the juniors, played for his country, our 1st XV and higher, then returns to coach the club.”

Gethin Evans

Posted on

School Liaison Officer Wanted

School Liaison Officer Wanted

The Old Patesians Juniors are seeking a volunteer to work as the Schools Liaison Officer for the Junior Section. The club currently have approximately 360 junior players involved in age groups from the U9’s to Colts (17/18yrs old). Our players attend numerous Junior and Secondary schools in the Cheltenham area.

The role will involve working with the schools to provide a single point of contact within the club who the school can liaise with over a number of matters, from recruitment of players, joint ventures between club and schools, provision of coaching assistance at schools and even loaning of equipment if needed to get children playing rugby. The post would also be a point of contact between school and club if there were injury concerns. The role will also involve working the club’s Safeguarding team.

Initially we will pilot the role across a couple of schools in Cheltenham. We will provide DBS vetting and any required RFU courses such as Play it Safe and Safeguarding.

If you are interested in this role or would like to discuss it further please contact via our contact form