Many of our supporters will know Gavin Hogg who joined us at the start of last season from Bury St Edmunds. Working alongside Bruce Millar, Gavin has been Head Coach of our 1st XV while leading the challenging task of overhauling our squad and coaching team. There have been some testing times during the last 18 months or so, but we are now in a position where we have a young talented squad that has shown a lot of promise and glimpses of the sort of form and style that will see the club challenging for promotion back to National League One very soon.
It's with some sadness therefore that we announce Gavin will be leaving us to return to his native home in Northern Ireland from mid-February after being approached to take up a senior role leading a regional development team in Ulster bringing through the next generation of players and coaches.
Whilst as a club we're disappointed to be losing Gav, it's a fantastic opportunity and we'd like to wish him and his family all success in the future and thank him for all the work he's put in during his time at Woollams.
Changing a coach mid-season is never ideal, however, we are in the fortunate position that we have a natural replacement already involved with the 1st XV in James Buckland.
James has been working alongside Gav, Bruce and the team since the start of pre-season, focusing on Forwards & Defence and will take over as Head Coach when Gavin leaves in February.
As an Professional James played in the Premiership for Northampton, Leicester, Wasps and London Irish.
Since retiring James has held senior coaching positions at London Scottish and London Welsh, while also acting as a consultant with a number of other clubs. Alongside these roles, James has been working on his own youth Academy as well as delivering executive coaching and mentoring to the business community.
Between now and mid-Feb James will be taking over day to day responsibilities from Gavin to ensure a smooth transition. We're sure everyone will join in congratulating James on his appointment and wish him and the squad all the best for the remainder of the season and beyond.
Head Coach's Preview
We return to Woollams after a spirited display at league leaders Rams last week. The set-piece was ultimately the deciding factor and provided a platform for our opponents to gain an upper hand which found us chasing the game from early on. However we were delighted with the attitude shown in the 2nd half to win that 40 mins of rugby 21-10 shows what we are capable of and much to build on this week.
This week's training has been focused and intense and hopefully the boys will transfer this energy onto the pitch on Saturday against a side who has been consistent in their performances and will be brimming with confidence after last week's victory over Henley.
We are forced into a few changes with unavailability and a couple of injuries but once again provides an opportunity for those coming into the starting XV to demonstrate their ability. We are particularly delighted to see Sam Jones make his 1st team debut this Saturday. Sam is a product of our youth system and Oaklands College and it is always very satisfying to see one of the club's own push through to make it into the 1st team at this level.
I sure our home support will get behind Sam and the boys on Saturday.
Gavin Hogg, Head Coach
- Year Joined - 2011
- Previous Clubs - Bath Spa Uni
- Position - Scrum Half, Club Captain
- Nickname - Kimbo
I am very proud to say this is my 5th season as Grizzlies Captain and my first as Club Captain. I am also joint Head Coach of the U13’s so OA’s takes up most of my spare time but I love it.
Whether playing or coaching I love being part of this great club. As soon as I stop enjoying it it will be time to hang up the boots. Although I’ve been told by my son I have to keep playing until he is old enough to play a senior game of rugby with me… Only 5 more years to go then!!!!⠀
OAs through history
We introduced #ThrowbackThursday on Social Media this season and are now including it in our Match Day Programmes.
Old Albanian RFC
Founded in 1924, Old Albanian RFC is an English Rugby Union Club playing in National League Two South for the 2018/19 season. We are a fully open and inclusive community club based at Woollams, the club’s home ground in St Albans, Hertfordshire offering some of the best playing and social facilities in the UK.
The senior club runs four men’s teams and an Adult Ladies side all playing in competitive leagues, in 2018 the club also launched an Academy for 17 to 23 year olds.
The junior club is one of of the largest and most successful Mini’s & Junior’s sections in the country with nearly 1,000 members playing week in week out between Under 5 and Under 18s, including a growing Girls section operating at 3 age groups; Under 13, Under 15 and Under 18.