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From Tag Rugby to 1st XV via England Counties Trials – My ‘Juniors Journey’

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By Miles Calvert 

I’d enjoyed ‘Tag’ on a Sunday morning, but at 8 years old, contact rugby sounded a bit daunting. All my tag friends were joining the U9s that September, so I did too.

I was actively encouraged by all of my coaches and I learnt lots from these experienced older heads who had played for the ‘firsts’ themselves. I was lucky enough to be nominated for the Gloucester DPP at U12s and the weekly sessions of ‘drills and skills’ helped me to improve my Sunday game for the Pats. It was at a DPP tournament that I got injured, tearing my ACL at 13 years old. I missed 3 seasons of junior rugby having 2 operations, but throughout that time my only goal was to get back on the pitch. I worked hard to get myself fit again and started playing again in January 2017. We reached the U16s County Cup final that year, where we were narrowly beaten, but I was back playing at a decent level with a great team of friends.

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The following season I started playing for the Colts and was nominated for county U17s. I got through the trials and played for the GRFU side against Somerset, Oxfordshire and Dorset, and that season I was also picked to play for the Irish Exiles U18s to play Boys Clubs of Wales. At the start of the 2019 season I was nominated for the county U18 squad, this time the matches were a trial for the England South West counties squad. We had a brilliant team coached by Ben Smith and Downsey, winning both of our games and I was selected to represent the South West U18s.

The standard at the England counties games was very high, and I had to really step up my game, as we were trialling for the England counties squad to play in two capped test matches against Ireland. We were involved in 2 matches and a 2-day camp at Warwick School and the University, where we trained with the other regions in top class facilities and were assessed the whole weekend for our skills on and off the pitch. Unfortunately, I wasn’t selected for the final squad, however I was proud to get as far as I did and experienced very high level rugby and coaching.

Ben Smith contacted me after the county matches to ask if I wanted to play for the 1st XV at Pats so I started training with them once I had finished the England Counties pathway. The whole team were very welcoming – they could probably tell I was a bit nervous playing against blokes twice my size (sometimes three times). My first team debut at Beaconsfield RFC was a mud bath, but despite us losing narrowly I scored a try and got joint man of the match. My second game was at Everest Rd and we hammered Chippenham RFC scoring 8 tries in the process.

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My rugby journey has been full of lots of highs and lows, but the support of the club, my coaches and my teammates has been fantastic. I’ll continue to play rugby when I go to University this autumn, but will always look back on my junior rugby days with fond memories.

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Wine quiz, wine tasting and ploughman’s supper

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NOW CANCELLED

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
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2019-20 Season so far by Matt Cape

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The 2019-20 season was always going to be a season of massive change for the Senior’s and so far it has not disappointed!  We have a new coaching team comprising Chris Downes, Ben Smith and Will Safe who took over in the summer whilst the players have had to get used to new coaches, team mates and a different coaching and playing approach in both attack and defence.

The players and coaches are the sharp end of a long spear with many people working hard to make it possible for them to perform including Norman Bell and Rubin Hart who ensure that everything is in place on a Saturday and that (most of) the team needs are looked after.  Sophie Brown, our lead physiotherapist, has done an amazing job of keeping the squad together whilst Connor Thompson continues to do an amazing job as Club Captain despite his shoulder injury keeping him off the pitch. They are all ably supported by Steve Cohen, Mark Knight, Michael Angell, Caroline Newman, Dave Osman, Bob Taylor and Gethin Evans whose help and support make it all possible.

We must also recognise the sponsors without whom we would not be able to afford to put a team on the pitch. The principle shirt sponsors this season are Dael Telecom, Irongate Wealth Management and Vinotopia Wine Merchants. In addition we have some amazing player, match and programme sponsors who give us amazing support.

The playing results have not gone to plan this season due, in no small part, to a massive injury list which even Sophie could not wave her magic wand to resolve. The whole of the starting back row comprising George Angell, Richard Hance and Tom Langton, has been missing since the first game and we have played 5 different hookers, 6 number eights, 6 scrum-halves and 6 fly-halves – resulting in us considering burning some of these shirts!!!

The great news is that due to the hard work of the players and coaches the level of performance has improved and we enter 2020 in a positive mood and Connor Thompson – the Club Captain, has returned to the team after almost 2 years off with a serious shoulder injury securing ‘Man of the Match’ in his first game against Chippenham!

Best wishes for 2020

Matt-Cape-Club-Chairman

Matt Cape – Club Chairman