CHAIRMAN’S NOTES 8TH DECEMBER 2018
Today’s sponsor is our main sponsor Hire4Lower and we thank, as ever, Colin and Yvonne Tall for their support and commitment to the club
We welcome New Ash Green together with Mark Finlason the referee and Andy Jordan his adviser. It is sometimes the case that we become rather excitable after the Christmas lunch and I can only stress how important it is to show respect to our opposition and our officials today.
We will be holding a minutes silence for the Godfather of Kent Rugby John Carley on the pitch at 2pm. Former Kent presidents Robin Taylor and Colin Blackham are with us as well as another 140 of our closest friends. My thanks go to Christine, Mandy and Big Bird for the effort and organisation that allows such an event to take place. We are delighted that our MP Helen Grant and her husband Simon are with us. Helen is very supportive of the new Clubhouse and recently attended a CRFC Ladies Match.
I have to announce that Chris Catt is now head coach and we wish him all the best in his new role with the club. Phil Catt remains with the Nomads and Nigel Posey and Smudger Smith are doing a fantastic job with our ladies team. In fact the ladies are now 10 points clear in their league and we cannot stress how delighted we are with their progress this season
The Nomads following their win last week against Leigh are now 4th in their league. It is fantastic to see that we now have sufficient numbers not only every week for a second team but also to have replacements for the nomads (last week we had 6).
Last week the 1st team played Gillingham Anchorians who are 2nd in the league. Sadly we let in 3 early tries but then dominated the game for the next 60 minutes; the pack were tremendous but Chris and the whole team know how important it is for us to learn how to finish off all the hard work points.
Next Saturday, 15th December the Nomads are at home to Ashford, as the 1st XV travel to Ashford. The Ladies now have a break until 6 January when they are away at Lordswood. The under 17’s have had recently very good wins against Old Elthamians and Medway.
I hope you will have seen the barometer outside the clubhouse. We are going out to tender for the building of the new clubhouse in the New Year. We have already raised over £200,000 by our own efforts and we’ve recently had 3 major donations from members in addition. You will read in the early years part of this program that when the extension was built in the 1970s loans had even then to be taken out by the committee. The more that we can raise from our supporters, the less we may have to borrow to finish off the work. In the New Year we will be selling to the minis and juniors bricks for the new clubhouse. The new club development plan is first-class and we are selling ourselves as an asset to the local community. We have had many letters of support from local organisations who may wish to use our new facility.
Your support is much appreciated and will be needed to bring this excellent scheme to fruition.
May I take this opportunity of wishing you all on behalf of the Club a very happy Christmas and let us all hope for a prosperous 2019.
#Strength and Honour
Finale of the early years
The last Committee meeting to be held at the George Hotel took place in February 1971 as the Clubhouse opened on 6th March after much hard work. The concrete fence posts between the Cricket and the Rugby pitches were finally removed in July 1971 and so did most of the barriers which had existed between the Cricket Club and the Rugby Club. Having previously put in some very hard work in draining the pitch, the Club could now settle down to a brighter future and concentrate more on the game. And already the results were coming. Under Alec Western, in the 1966-67 season, we had won three games, scored some eighty points and conceded four hundred and seventy-seven; by 1970-71, again under Alec's captaincy this had changed to twenty won games with three hundred and thirty-nine points for and one hundred and seventy-five against.
The 1972-73 season proved to be one of the finest the Club has enjoyed; with Malcolm Clegg as Captain 33 normal Saturday games were played winning 26 drawing 2 and losing 5. They scored a massive 777 points and conceded 254.
In February 1973 it was decided to approach the Parish Council for the use of the JuniorFootball pitch, which lay between the Clubhouse and the Rugby pitch, as the Junior Football team no longer used the ground. In view of the later developments of minirugby, this proved to be a very wise move.
Yet a further milestone in the development of the Club came in September 1974 when Don Buckle and Bernard Jenner contacted us with a view to starting mini rugby at Cranbrook. An Open Day was arranged in March 1975 when over fifty boys descended on the Club to give mini-rugby sides a great boost.
Plans for the extension to the Clubhouse having been drawn up by the Clubhouse subcommittee in February 1976. A grant of £5,000 was obtained from the Sports Council, a loan of £3,000 from the R.F.U., a further loan of £500 from the Kent Playing Fields Association and £1,OOO from Whitbread's Brewery all this together with the £2,000 the Club raised on its own went a long way towards meeting the final cost of nearly £15,000.
Little has been said, so far, of the part the ladies have played in the Club's activities. Apart from the everlasting chores of providing teas each Saturday they have been the mainstay of the Club's Annual Christmas Fayre held in the car park of the George Hotel. We must always acknowledge the debt we owe to them and especially that to Mrs. McMinnies (senior) who was the mainstay of this effort over so many years.
But as these notes close on the first twenty-one years and we investigate the future, perhaps it would be well to leave the last word with the players of the future — the Juniors.
In April 1979 Cranbrook were once again invited to represent Kent in the National Association of Boys Clubs Seven-a-Side Competition. The Under 19's won the Plate Competition against strong opposition; and the Under 16's reached the semi-final. In May a party of Juniors, travelled to La Hulpe in Belgium, the first Cranbrook contingent to compete on the Continent, where they won the Tournament Trophy against sides fielding several schoolboy internationals. Under Don Buckle and Bernard Jenner the Junior section of the Club has become one of the most respected Junior organisations in the area, and a great credit to Cranbrook who were the first Club in Kent to organise Mini-Rugby.
OLD BOYS IN OTHER NEWS
Nathan Earle grabbed an excellent brace of tries in Quins 2 point win over Exeter last weekend....
A beaming Sam Arnold made his Ireland debut in their emphatic win at the Aviva Stadium against the USA 2 weeks ago....
Last weekend saw Harry Sloan's comeback from his latest injury setback for Ealing Trailfinders in their 29-15 win over London Scottish in the Championship Cup....
And last but by no means least, on the playing front, Ruaridh McConnochie made his First Team Gallagher Premiership debut for Bath in his favourite position at fullack last weekend against Sale. Although we lack an "action" picture in his Bath Team colours on the day, below is a throwback to Junior days when he went on a try scoring run for CRFC U15s on tour to Hasparren in 2007... He is also named as the starting fullback against Leinster in the Champions Cup today.
However, on a non rugby playing front, former Junior Luke Phillips stopped playing rugby at U16 to concentrate on another career and made it through to the Semi Final stage of Master Chef Professionals this week...