I trust you are all well and well on the way to being a fully qualified COVID vaccination recipient. Springwood Hall has certainly been a busy place over the past few weeks. All of this has made things more likely that we will get some form of rugby in the foreseeable future. There is still no announced starting date although the strong whispers are heading for September 4th. By then, hopefully, the Club will have participated in Peebles, Hawick and Gala Sevens as well as staging our own John Laing Sevens for Second team players on Friday 20th August. We are expecting to know very soon what format rugby will take next season. There is still much debate as to whether we have a usual season or whether adult men’s rugby will be regionalised. The Ladies team has little choice here as they are the only local team so, for competition, they will have to head north to Edinburgh and Fife for games.
Hopefully, you have been able to access the video of the Mental Health and Wellbeing project in which the Club is engaged jointly with SBC and the NHS Joint Health Improvement team and Breathing Space. The interviews were filmed at Poynder a couple of weeks ago and the ‘stars’ of stage, screen and video did very well. We appreciate their sentiments with regard to their experience over the lockdown period. There are another 2 recordings to come over the next couple of months.
All playing sections have returned to training under Government and SRU guidance. At the moment over 18s cannot be engaged in contact but there is an opportunity fairly soon for that to change. Brian Macfarlane, who is our COVID officer, has been keeping us on the correct pathway to recovery of rugby. Murray Hastie, our Development Officer, has been working hard to get the youngsters back training at Youth level. All of the Cougars were given an Easter Egg a few weeks ago and they keep coming back. This just shows that bribery has its place!
The upgrade of the Clubrooms continues apace and the kitchen has been gutted as we received a generous grant to upgrade this area. Work has already started with a finishing date in mid-July forecast. Our thanks to Glyn Hobkirk, Ian Anderson and Susan McKenzie for their work on this project.
As part of our return to Poynder, we have a couple of afternoon teas planned. The first one will be passed by the time you read this but the second is due on Friday 18th June. The purpose is just to get members used to coming back to the Club and have a chat over a cup of tea.
The end of July has 2 dates for your diary. We are hosting a Sponsors’ Evening on Friday 30th July as a means of thanking all of those kind sponsors who have stuck by us over a season without rugby. On Saturday 31st July we are holding a ‘Generation Day’ which hopefully will kick-start the return to Poynder for players, members from all areas of the Club. More details are to follow on this one.
We are losing our Child Protection Officer, Neil Woodcock, who has done a magnificent job in this role since 2013. He will, however, shadow his successor and he is still going to be involved with the running of the Youth programme in a coaching capacity. This is a vital job at any club. We must ensure Kelso RFC is a safe environment for youngsters to come and train and play.
The British and Irish Lions squad has been selected and Scotland has 8 players heading for South Africa. That is quite a high number for us. Two previous Lions tour with good Scottish representation were in 1983 and 1989. Remarkably, the following seasons produced Grand Slams for Scotland in 1984 and 1990. I wonder what the Bookies’ odds are on that happening again. Scott Forbes had the best entry to the competition in the last copy of Kelso Life. Honestly, there was no jiggery pokery! I have spoken to some folk who said they entered but they sent their entry to the wrong email address. That’s why they didn’t win!
I know I have been known to perform a few minor miracles in the past but, please, don’t ask me for tickets for either the Lions tour or for the World Cup in France in 2023. These are just not available through the club or the SRU Ticket Office. However, those of you who normally get tickets for Autumn tests and 6 Nations should g
et some information on how to access these in the near fu
ture. I have now received some information on how to apply for International tickets for Scotland’s games at BT Murrayfield. Once I am able to use the Enigma Code breaker to allow me to understand the information, I shall pass it on to club members on the Club’s website. We have 3 games in November against South Africa, Australia and Japan and the two home 6 Nations games are against France and England. Looks like being a pretty easy challenge for us after the season just finishing!
As well as the rugby club awaiting news of their return to play, Kelso Cricket Club is in the same boat but they will probably have played some games by the time you read this. It is an important year for them as this is their 200th Anniversary, making them the oldest club in Scotland. I am, sure they
have some special events to be organised during the year. We offer them our congratulations and best wishes for a successful season.
So we have the Lions to look forward to with the games on SKY apart from the game against Japan which will be on Channel 5. Some of you will be following the Rainbow Cup which is somewhat of a mystery to me especially as I don’t subscribe to Premier Sports. There is also the tail end of the Gallagher Premiership to follow. Loads of tries and loads of red cards. Some of these players are slow learners as they continue to rattle opponents’ heads with their shoulders. They are maybe looking for an early summer break!
We are still in the process of getting the clubrooms up to standard to fit in with new safety regulations and we have opened up for Community use with Live Borders using the Downstairs hall and also Weight watchers have also returned. We have altered our operating plan for the running of the bar and have amended the license accordingly.
It is not known which of the other previous users will come back to us but we look forward to be able to offer the facilities to community groups such as Kelso Accordion Club, University of the 3rd Age and Border Links.
The Committee has not just been sitting around as there are several sub-groups working on various topics such as an updated Business Plan, improving f
acilities in the kitchen, keeping the Constitution up to speed and, of course, working towards the return to playing rugby.
We are continually grateful to the sponsors who have stayed on board with us. We know times are hard but your support means a lot to us. Sponsors have responded by sponsoring players, taking pitch side advertising and getting their firm’s name on the playing or casual kit and there is a new venture with several local firms putting up a smaller advertising board on the side of the stand as you enter the clubrooms. We have got this figure up to 9 sponsors now.
Zoom meetings continue although they are not the best way to run the Club. The plan is to have the Annual General Meeting at the end of June. By then we might get to hold it in person. We shall let you know about that one.
And just when things were looking up for a visit to Elgin to see
my grandchildren, the county of Moray has had a COVID spike. You’ve guessed it, I still haven’t seen them!
Stay safe and we hope to see you soon!