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Evening with Johan Ackermann

Johan Ackermann

An Evening with Gloucester Rugby head coach Johan Ackermann

Old Pats Business Club are delighted to promote the latest in their ‘Evening With…’ series featuring Johan Ackerman at the Old Pats clubhouse. 

With the Rugby World Cup group stages well underway, we meet the legendary ex-Springbok and current Gloucester Rugby head coach who’ll be sharing his views on the highlights of the World Cup so far, anecdotes from his international career as a player and coach and his plans and expectations for Gloucester in the forthcoming season.

Previous events have included Dean Ryan and Gary Gold have been incredibly interesting and entertaining, but we think an evening with Johan should top them both!’

+ Wine Tasting with Vinotopia

Vinotopia Wine Merchants

Tetbury-based Vinotopia, the champion of small growers, not big brands, will be introducing us to specially-selected wines South African wines.

+ Canapes by Tall Order Catering

Tall Order Catering

Old Pats’ favourite caterer Tall Order Catering is providing a range of their sumptuous and most-popular canapes

When, where and how to purchase tickets

Thursday September 26 18:30 – 9:00

Old Pats Clubhouse 52 Everest Road Cheltenham GL53 9LG

Only 60 tickets available on a first come first served basis from the Old Pats online shop CLICK HERE

If you require any help or information please contact the events team CLICK HERE

An Evening with Johan Ackermann is sponsored by:

First Solution

First Solution is one Old Pats’ main sponsors, sponsoring the Juniors for the next two seasons.  Such is the commitment from First Solution that Managing Director Nigel Church has kindly volunteered to continue to manage the Old Pats Business Club again this season. The Business Club plays a key role in raising sponsorship for the club.

Established in 2005, First Solution provide IT support and managed security services to help clients realise their desired business outcomes by raising defences and lowering costs.

For more information please go to

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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!

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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!

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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

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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

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President’s Welcome 2018

Club President's Welcome

It’s my pleasure to welcome players, coaches, officials, sponsors, supporters and opponents to the 2018-19 season. Our return to the South-West Premier Division gives us the opportunity to engage in some new rivalries and to re-new some old ones. We welcome all our visitors.

Last season was one of huge progress for us. The highlight was our 1st XV achieving promotion. This was hugely satisfying for our players, coaches and supporters, after coming so close the previous season. We pride ourselves on being an amateur club with a professional attitude; it’s great to see that pay off on and off the field.

We are one of the few clubs in the local area to field three senior XVs regularly. 36 players represented our 1st XV last season, showing the competition for places that exists at the elite level. No fewer than 85 players turned out for our 3rd XV, showing the opportunity that we provide for participation as a true community club. The success of our 4th/Veterans side in the Combination Minor Cup is proof of the depth that exists throughout the Club.

Our youth section continues to go from strength to strength, with over 350 juniors regularly playing contact rugby and 250 + children playing Tag rugby on a Sunday. The County Cup win by our Under 15s, final for our Under 16s and plate-final for our Colts demonstrate the effort and skill of the players and coaches.

We continue to provide the opportunity for players to advance to the highest level. We’re very proud that three of our players represented Gloucestershire at senior level and that we are strongly represented in the Gloucestershire Under 20s and the Gloucester Rugby Player Development Groups. Issac Marsh was selected in the England under 17’s squad which is a significant achievement. We are delighted that Will Safe, an ex-junior and now 1st XV skills coach, has signed a full-time professional contract with Gloucester, Jake Morris & Ewan Fenley have also been awarded Senior Academy contracts. It was fantastic to see 4 Old pats players representing Gloucester Rugby in the Premiership 7’s with all 4 playing in the plate final!

Lots of work has gone into preparing for the new season. This gives us great optimism. Let’s hope that the efforts of everyone involved are repaid by some successful and enjoyable rugby.

Let’s also recognise the hard work of those who contribute off the pitch: whether you’re a coach, touch judge, committee person, work behind the bar or in the kitchen, help our juniors or play a part in our social activities, your contribution is greatly valued.

Our players represent the Old Patesians with enthusiasm, effort and a great spirit. Please give them your whole-hearted support; and please come back to Everest Road regularly.

Allez les Pats!

Dick Tyler
President Old Patesians RFC