Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Unbeaten Squirrels are building for the future

SUCCESS is something that has become customary at Rhiwbina in recent years and the forward-thinking club have outlined their vision to ensure that trend continues.

Rhiwbina 1st XV 2014/15
The Squirrels have started the current campaign in some style – winning their first seven games in Division One East – which follows on from three promotions in four seasons, while they also reached a Millennium Stadium final in the Swalec Plate last season.

But, despite that success, they aren’t resting on their laurels and intend to build on their achievements – both on and off the field – by implementing a new five-year plan.

The club’s long-serving chairman, Paul Maddocks, explained: “We want to build on our success of previous years to make sure the club is going to be sustainable in the future.

“There are four aspects to our five-year plan – legal, administration, social and playing.

“We’ve done a SWOT analysis of each of those aspects and identified around 30 actions that we want to build into the plan across those four areas.”

An integral part of that plan is the club’s continued development to developing their own talent – with a thriving minis section (aged 7-12), junior sides between ages 13-16 and youth rugby at U18.

Maddocks continued: “We want to ensure that we attract players to our junior sections as well and, in our role as a community club, also working closely with Rhiwbina Primary and other local schools. 

“An illustration of that success is that our under 10s are now back playing on the Rhiwbina Primary School field.

“They’ve got a squad of 25 players – coached by Jason Gibson and Robert Morgan – and played Llandaff North recently on the school field and won three and drew one of the four games that they played.

“That emphasises our links with the community, our commitment to our junior sections as we realise the importance of our junior sections in terms of our future.”

One player to pass through the club’s youth system is a certain Sam Warburton who, whilst going on play at the highest level for Wales and the British & Irish Lions, still maintains strong links with the north Cardiff club.

“He gives of his time quite freely in terms of presentations and charity events and that is what our youngsters can aspire to,” added Maddocks.

Captain Brett Chatwin scores against Quins

Those youth sides feed into the club's three senior sides, with Rhiwbina also running successful second and third teams in the Premiere and Division Two respectively of the Cardiff & District League, with both still undefeated and flying high. 

The club also say that, although they don’t run a women’s side at present, they are trying to encourage girls at U12 level.

After winning Two East last season, things could not have started much better this term for the first team, who are coached by Gareth Lintern and Jared Lougher – in their fifth season with the club – and are skippered by Brett Chatwin.

They trail rivals Penallta – who have also made a 100 per cent start - by just two points at the top of One East.

The two clubs clash at Cae Delyn in the league on December 20, but have also been paired together in the third round of the Plate and face off at Penallta seven days earlier for a place in the last 16.

Penallta won the Plate in 2012 while the Squirrels are attempting to reach back-to-back finals having lost out 29-26 to Merthyr last season.

“The trip to Rumney on Saturday followed by the two games against Penallta really does make it a season-defining three weeks coming up for us,” said club official John Humphreys.

“We’ve been able to maintain the momentum from last year with a young team against tougher opposition.

“Our aim this season was to maintain our status as a Division One club and push for the top three and we’re on the way to achieving that.”


Post a Comment