Huge ambitions for promoted Farnham RUFC

By Colin Channon   |   Editorial manager   |
Saturday 2nd May 2020 9:26 am
@colinchannon
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At last year’s club fundraising lunch, chairman Geoff Robins (centre) receives the England under-18 shirt worn by Farnham junior player Will Trenholm from his proud father John (left) and in the company of Will Greenwood, England rugby legend and guest speaker

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FARNHAM first XV’s promotion to London 1 is the highest league position in its history.

It is a tremendous achievement – but also a huge challenge.

In recent years a number of clubs have shown the scale of the task of stepping up to level six rugby.

And club chairman Geoff Robins believes Farnham are perfectly placed to succeed at the new level – and underlined their vision to become the best community club in London and south-east rugby .

He said: “If you cut though a Farnham player’s arm you’ll find the Mitre logo running through his or her bones.

“Last year we laid out a strategic plan for the club over the next three years.

“Our vision is to be the best community club in London and the south east and our strategy consists of five key objectives:

n the best rugby experience;

n community focused;

n best facilities;

n financially solid; and

n structurally aligned.

“Our job as the management committee, supported by an army of volunteers, is to consistently provide the environment for players to enjoy the very best rugby experience from the under-five age group right through to the first XV.

“This produces committed and talented rugby players capable of competing at whatever level they achieve.

“The foundations for this vision were set following the move of the club to their new facilities in 2012 and almost every club who have visited Monkton Lane will attest we have among the best in terms of grounds, changing rooms, the club rooms and the bar.

“It was no mean feat to build this place. If you want an object lesson in how a club can rise to the challenge and overcome apparently insurmountable odds, then you need look no further than our ten-year struggle to move here from our dilapidated place at Wrecclesham.

“Obviously, there were individuals who contributed greatly, but it was the indefatigable spirit of the club has a whole that got us here.

“And it is that spirit that will continue to drive the club and the first XV forward.

“Someone once said ‘Build it and they will come’. That has been true for us.

“Over the seven seasons we have enjoyed at Monkton Lane, membership has flourished. Every week during the season more than 1,000 people enjoy playing rugby at Farnham.

“At one end of the junior section we have a waiting list to join the mini section while at the other, we will field an academy of some 60 under-18 boys next season.

“Women and girls’ rugby has exploded. Next year we will have two women’s sides plus full under-15 and under-11 girls’ squads entered into county and national competitions.

“Meanwhile, we’ve regularly put out five senior men’s sides on Saturdays in league or cup games – and there’s even talk of a sixth for next season.

“And let’s not forget our thriving O2 touch rugby section which last year produced no fewer than four national-level players.

“The club’s growth has been an evolution. We take a step forward season by season.

“The foundation for our current success, and into the future, will be our ability to generate our own players, who understand the club’s ethos and ways of playing. That is why our mini and junior sections, culminating in the academy, are so very important.

“Enabling our players to be the best they can be, on and off the pitch, is core to our purpose.

“To ensure this, we continue to invest in coaching and physios and we are in the process of building a strength and conditioning gym for the players.

“This is yet another example of our determination to provide the best rugby experience possible.

“Returning to the theme of club spirit, it has held together magnificently during the on-going Covid-19 crisis.

“We lost revenue when the season ended early and like many other organisations, we are being financially tested by the economic downturn.

“Nevertheless, with the magnificent support of our membership, our sponsors, our suppliers and our friends, I am confident the club will hit the new season –whenever it starts – in good health, and overcoming whatever challenges are put before us.”

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