The 2017/18 season saw the then U12’s with a full compliment of 60 players and eleven coaches. We redesigned our structure reducing the number of squads from four to three. This was to accommodate the increase to twelve players per team. Initially, as we expected, the boys took a few weeks to settle into their new set up. However with hard work and determination they soon turned the corner and played fantastic rugby throughout the season, in the brand that we want to play, going forwards at pace with quick ball distribution.
We had a full fixture list and participated in the County Festival, two end of season tournaments, and a full end of season tour to Beaconsfield and Thorpe Park! That tour took every player that wished to go, in total 40 players and their parents, a great turnout and loads of fun for all. We had great results in all the tournaments, narrowly missing out on winning the Berry Hill tournament by one try, and winning the Droitwich Tournament. The rugby played on tour was superb and we received numerous positive comments from our opposition not only on our style but also how our all inclusive structure still generated talented players, excellent teams and a very high standard of rugby.
We now look forward to the new season as U13’s. I fully anticipate, once again, having our maximum of 60 players in the age group. The squads will remain the same although we will always seek to ensure that they are balanced and have sufficient players for each position. Therefore as the season progresses there is always the chance that we may need to move a few players around.
The coaches will remain the same for each squad. This season we will see an increase in playing numbers to 13 players per team. We will add a number eight to the pack and we will also see the introduction of pushing at the scrum. This will be well managed and practised, using the experiences of our forwards coaches, and where necessary enlisting the help of other coaches across the Junior section.
Whilst the GRFU have chosen not to run a County competition this season, we have a full and varied fixture list balanced with training sessions to continue player development and fitness. As always we will look to play in some end of season tournaments. Running three 20 player squads is a challenge. Therefore we ask for commitment from all our players to attend all our sessions. Match day squads will always be selected using the club ethos, which is based around the commitment of players and their attitude when training and playing. Please remember if your child isn’t at our sessions it impacts on all the other players and can affect fixtures.
When and where
We will continue to train and play home fixtures at Reeves Fields, Old Bath Road, Cheltenham. Sessions will generally be between 10.15am and 11.30am. As always we expect the highest standards of our players in their attitude to coaches and our opposition.
On behalf of all the U13 coaches we look forward to another great season with the boys and seeing them develop as players and young people.
Kelan Loughnane owner of Mack Residential and parent of a U13 player helps organise U13 tours, and is a significant sponsor of Old Pats Juniors.
Mack Residential specialise in sales and lettings in Cheltenham as well as significant investment in public-sector housing across the UK
Looking for a property or thinking of selling then go to www.mackresidential.com/ for more information.
Laurence Hale, co-owner of Arnica Dental Care and parent of U13 player helps Alistair manage our U13 age group as well as managing Old Pats Juniors Marketing Communications.
Arnica Dental Care is Old Pats’ very local full-service dental practice offering general, cosmetic and dental implant dentistry. Arnica is also Old Pats’ official mouthguard supplier.
To find out more about how Arnica can provide you and your family with exceptional-quality treatment and care the gentle way go to www.arnicadentalcare.co.uk