Wed 23 Jun 2021 11:42

As we reach the end of the 2020-21 season, it is still hard to believe that our last competitive league fixture was some 16 months ago on the 7th March 2020.
Despite this and the interruptions which have occurred as a result of the pandemic, we have much to be proud of. 
On the playing front, we have seen the introduction and growth of the women’s section of our club, going from a standing start at the beginning of the first lockdown, to now boasting numbers of 30+ regularly training. We also making large strides with the introduction of Girls Rugby sessions on a Sunday. We are confident that this arm of the club can only continue to grow under the leadership and enthusiasm of Pat Metcalfe-Jones.
Our senior men’s section has also bucked the trend with 60+ people at training each week. In the month of May, we had fixtures using the adapted laws every weekend for our 1sts, 2nds and 3rds, this also included the inaugural Lord Mayor’s Festival with Oxford Brookes, which raised over £1,000 for local charities. Fixtures with Harpenden (home and away), Maidenhead (home and away), Reading University, Marlborough, Oxford and Didcot all followed. A big thank you to Stu Wells and Pete Davis for organising this and to all of the coaching staff and players who took part in the games. Rugby was the real winner here but it was of course also really pleasing to see the first team complete their fixtures without loss.
The Academy continue to move forward at pace with numbers now at a level where we are able to support two teams. Under the stewardship of their Lead Coach Keni Fisilau ably supported by Tony McNally the future of the game is in safe hands.
Our Mini & Junior section have also maintained the momentum and the month of May saw fixtures against local sides, which was gratefully received by Quins and the opposition alike. I spoke to a number parents, players and coaches, from Quins, Bicester, Stowe and Witney and the positive experience for everyone was self-evident. A massive thank you to all the coaches and organisers, who help put these days on. Way too many to name, but you know who you are.
The Clubs Executive Team never fail to amaze me with their passion, positivity and the sheer hard work that they put in, all of which is done to ensure that all our members get the best experience. Their foresight and planning at the start of 2020, has put the club in a strong position as we approach the 2021-22 season.
Investments have been made during the last year on the facility to create a new grass pitch next to the AGP, with grants secured and a planning application submitted our aim is to have this floodlighted in times for next winter. The clubhouse is now fully double glazed throughout and funding is in place to complete the disabled toilet suite and new referees changing room. The eagerly awaited scoreboard is now in place next to the AGP and our sincere thanks must go to Standlake Sports Supplies who have sponsored this. Sponsors play a crucial role in the running of the club and I’d like to also thank our other major sponsors A-Plan, Freeths, Grange Mill/Sweetcroft, Bower and Bailey, Herbert and Webster and all of our partners, in fact, who despite the challenging times have remained committed to us and helped us provide the best facilities and experience to all our members. We could not survive without this support. If you would like to get involved and have your company brand and profile boosted through sponsorship and our social media programme then please email: Commercial@oxfordharlequins.org to discuss what the club can do for your business.
This coming season will be our 25th year as Quins. There will be events throughout the season to celebrate what is our Silver Anniversary. A group of willing volunteers are working on this already and will keep you posted on the events which will take place across the year. If you’d like to be involved, please do let us know by emailing our Head of Facilities, James Knox – facilities@oxfordjarlequins.org
That said, and although it is always nice to reminisce of past achievements and memories, we are and always will be a forward-thinking club and planning for the new season and the next chapter in our history is well underway. The club AGM will be taking place on Thursday 8 July. The Club Executive will update members on the plans which are in place to help us achieve our aim of being the best community rugby club in the country!
Yours in rugby
Neil Hopper
Chairman
Oxford Harlequins RFC
chairman@oxfordharlequins.org

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